Sepsis

Every 2 minutes someone dies from sepsis in the U.S. – that’s more than from prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. The Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance of New Hampshire, along with other health care organizations across the country, are recognizing September as Sepsis Awareness Month in an effort to educate the community about the warning signs and dangers of sepsis.

Definition: Sepsis isn’t a virus or a bacteria. It is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. In other words, it’s your body’s overactive and toxic response to an infection. Sepsis is treatable, especially with early recognition and care.

In 2019, Sepsis Alliance conducted a nation-wide survey on sepsis. Here are a few of the findings:

    • 76% of U.S. adults incorrectly believe that more people die of opioid overdoses in one year than from sepsis. According to CDC data, fatality from sepsis is six times more common than opioid overdose.
    • Only 13% of adults heard about sepsis from their health care provider. The majority of adults who are aware of sepsis heard about it through TV (26%) or from a friend/loved one (26%).
    • One-third of adults say they do not know the symptoms of sepsis.
    • 22% of adults indicated that they had never heard of sepsis.
    • People who identify as non-Hispanic white are more likely to have heard the word sepsis than those who identify as non-Hispanic black or Hispanic.

Take a minute this month to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of sepsis.