LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- September is Sepsis awareness month. Doctors and health officials across the nation are trying to get the word out about what it is and how to prevent it.
Sepsis is a severe infection in the tissue, caused by the presence of harmful bacteria, and their toxins, typically caused from infection of a wound.
When someone comes into the ER at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, they’re screened through a series of questions to see if they could possibly have sepsis.
“And if you meet a certain number then that flags us that you’re sepsis-positive so you came back positive on our screening tool and then we can alert the doctors and we have a certain protocol that we follow…make sure to get blood cultures, make sure to get antibiotics on board if need be early on so we can get it treated sooner rather than later,” said Rechelle Walters.
The signs and symptoms of the potentially life-threatening infections are:
-shivering, accompanied by fever or feeling very cold.
-extreme pain or discomfort
-clammy or discolored skin
-confusion or disorientation
-shortness of breath
-and a high heart rate
Dr. Kevin Hoos says this can occur when the body has an infection and tries to fight it off.
“The body will release chemicals into the bloodstream to fight this infection and sometimes these chemicals can cause an inflammatory response within the body that can lead to a cascade of events that can cause tissue damage, organ failure and potentially death,” said Dr. Hoos.
Sepsis can come from almost any infection but the most common source of infection that doctor’s see in the Emergency Department are lungs, urinary tract, skin, and gut.
Dr. Hoos says the severity of the infection can be split up into three different parts.
“There’s sepsis that can advance to severe sepsis, that can advance to septic shock. What we strive to do is to capture this syndrome in the early stages and that way it is more easily treated and leads to better results,” Dr. Hoos said.
“It’s proven that once we detect that sepsis early on, that it actually does save lives and people have a better outcome if we detect it earlier,” said Walters
Hoos says people can help their chances of not getting sepsis by keeping your vaccinations up to date, and also by washing your hands and living a healthy lifestyle.
Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.