Sepsis is the most common avoidable cause of death in the UK. Recognising and treating sepsis in the first hour saves lives.

You will know when your child is unwell. Sepsis can be very hard to identify as many as it’s signs are also common in routine childhood illnesses. It’s important to trust your instincts. If your child seems sicker than usual or something just doesn’t seem right, call your GP, NHS 111 or seek urgent medical help.

30% of children attending the Emergency Department (A&E) have a fever but only 1% will have sepsis.

Some signs to watch out for include:

Sepsis is more common in those who have a higher chance of getting an infection in the first place, such as:

  • babies under 3 months; this is also called neonatal sepsis;
  • people who just had surgery;
  • those whose immune systems are weakened from conditions such as HIV, cancer or transplants.

You can help protect your child from infection:

1.Get your children immunized on the recommended schedule. Routine vaccines help prevent bacteria and viruses from causing infections that can lead to sepsis;

2.Encourage regular hand washing;

3.Clean any cuts or scrapes well. Keep a close eye on them to be sure they’re healing as expected;

4.If your child has a medical device (like a catheter or long-term IV line), follow the doctor’s directions for cleaning and using it.

If your child is sick and is not getting better, call your doctor or get medical care. If your child is prescribed antibiotics, give all doses exactly as directed.

Most important: If your child seems sicker than normal to you, or is being treated for an infection that’s not getting better or gets worse, trust your gut and call the doctor or get medical help right away. Ask the doctor, “Could it be sepsis?”


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