This Is The Silent Killer All Parents Should Be Aware Of 6 years ago

This Is The Silent Killer All Parents Should Be Aware Of

Blood poisoning – or sepsis – is known as the 'silent killer' and doctors need to be better at spotting it and educating parents about signs to look out for a UK health watchdog has now warned.

In fact, NICE (The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) have now issued new guidelines advising doctors to look out for sepsis when treating people with infections.

Sepsis, if you are not familiar with the term, is also called blood poisoning or septicaemia, and is a potentially life-threatening condition, triggered by an infection or even injury in your body. This can happen when your body goes into 'overdrive' trying to fight off something and kicks off a series of internal reactions, including widespread inflammation, swelling, and even blood clotting.

All these can in combination lead to a significant decrease in blood pressure, reducing blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys. If not treated quickly, sepsis can eventually lead to multiple organ failure and death.

The problem is that symptoms of the condition can often be vague, and hard to recognise or set apart from other conditions, – which is why sepsis is often referred to as the 'silent killer'.

And this is the reason why health experts are now urging GPs and paramedics to be more aware, and always ask themselves 'could this be sepsis?' when treating someone who is unwell with an infection of some sort. At the same time, parents need to be made aware, so that if they suspect something is not right, they can make contact with a GP or local A/E department to have their child checked out.

Signs and symptoms to be on the look-out for

Early symptoms of sepsis usually develop quickly and can include:

  • a high temperature (fever)
  • chills and shivering
  • a fast heartbeat
  • fast breathing

In certain cases, symptoms of more severe sepsis or septic shock can develop soon after. These can include:

  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • confusion or disorientation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin
  • slurred speech
  • severe muscle pain
  • severe breathlessness
  • less urine production than normal (for example, not weeing for a day)
These are the red flags Dr Ron Daniels, NHS consultant in critical care and anaesthesia and chief executive and co-founder of The UK Sepsis Trust, told Netmums all parents need to be made aware of.
If your child is showing any of the below signs, take them to A&E immediately:
  1. A high fever. OR a low fever, which persists and is accompanied with abnormal (listless) behaviour, quick breathing, rapid heartbeat, skin that is COLD to the touch.
  2. Any skin colour changes whatsoever. A rash. Mottled/marbled skin. Becoming very pale or slightly blue.
  3. Your child becoming unresponsive and acting out of character – not able to make eye contact, not wanting to move, not showing interest in anything, not speaking or conversing.