Dr C’s check-up ‘YOU MUST ACT FAST IF YOU SUSPECT SEPSIS’ BE CAREFUL WITH ENERGY DRINKS!
DR CHRISTIAN GIVES HIS TAKE ON THE HOT HEALTH TOPICS OF THE WEEK Blood poisoning is one of the UK’S biggest killers, taking 52,000 lives a year. Dr C wants us to know what to look out for I The caffeine-rich beverages can trigger an abnormal heart rhythm,
t was recently reported how mum Lauren Butterworth initially dismissed her son’s tiredness and temperature as a bug. But after pressing on her baby’s skin and noticing a rash, which didn’t go after eight seconds, she called 999. Alfie had sepsis and only hours to live.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Thankfully, he recovered, but it shows the instinct we have when it comes to our health shouldn’t be ignored. Around 25,000 children develop the condition, along with 225,0000 adults, and it’s vital we know what to look for. Sepsis happens after an infection; your body desperately tries to fight toxins produced by a bacteria, but it’s an excessive reaction. It can affect the whole body, and it acts fast.
There isn’t one specific sign of sepsis, it’s a collection of symptoms that can make both adults and children seriously ill. A very high temperature (39°C, or 38°C in babies under three months) is the most common sign, usually a rash, a fast pulse rate and increased breathing rate. Sepsis takes 52,000 lives each year, probably because it kills so fast. A patient’s health can decline rapidly, so they should get seen as soon as they feel something is wrong. In babies, look for mottled skin, a rash that doesn’t go, fits, and grunting while they breathe. In adults, also watch for slurred speech, faintness, disorientation, vomiting, and severe muscle pain.
KEEP A CLOSE EYE
Those at the highest risk include the very young and the very old. If you give a baby Calpol, their temperature may drop briefly, but it will shoot up again and they will still have other symptoms. I wouldn’t recommend giving medicine for that very reason – it could mask sepsis. Behaviour is important; the child may be floppy, whining, not interested in feeding, or listless. A parent should take those symptoms seriously and get straight to hospital, don’t bother with your GP. Detected early in adults too, sepsis can be treated with a massive dose of antibiotics, bloods and fluids, and you can make a full recovery. If they aren’t treated quickly, though, it becomes very dangerous and could mean losing a limb, or even death. Trust your instincts, don’t delay and never feel guilty. If you’re in any way concerned, get to hospital, no doctor will shout at you for wasting their time. Sepsis doesn’t have to kill, but it can, so don’t delay – act quickly.