After Hours GP Spotlight on Sepsis
Posted: Apr 19, 2019
According to the Australian Sepsis Network, sepsis is the leading cause of infection fatalities around the world. This serious inflammation occurs when the immune system is triggered into an overdrive. So, here the After Hours GP team are shining a spotlight on sepsis, so you can spot symptoms and know when you need to seek medical help.
The Sepsis Basics
Sepsis is a potentially fatal inflammation of the body that occurs when the immune system is trigger into an over response. Sepsis is categorized into three severity levels; sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock.
Sepsis occurs when the body is fighting an infection. The human immune system fights infection by releasing certain chemicals into the bloodstream, but in sepsis, too many of these chemicals are released into your system. This causes inflammation that can put your organs at risk of damage.
According to data from the Australian Sepsis Network, respiratory infections, urinary infections, and abdominal infections are the most common causes of sepsis.
Who is Most at Risk of Sepsis?
Cases of sepsis are most common in patients who are already in the hospital. The highest risk is in children, infants, the elderly and anyone with a weak immune system, but it is also more common in those with physical trauma, burns or chronic disease.
There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, those under hospital treatment are likely to have a more serious medical condition that increases the risk. However, hospital patients may also be at greater risk of infection due to intervention methods. For example, a patient in a hospital or a long term care facility may have had a urinary catheter placed. This is needed to drain urine from the patient’s bladder. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of a urinary infection. Some statistics show that as many as 75% of urinary infections in hospitals are associated with a catheter.
The Symptoms of Sepsis
Early detection of sepsis is crucial. Unless it becomes severe, it is usually relatively simple to treat. If you suspect you are at risk of sepsis, you’ll need to call in your After Hours GP or seek further medical attention. A doctor can perform an assessment and examination to diagnose sepsis.
For an official diagnosis of sepsis, you need to demonstrate at least two out of the following symptoms:
- A heart rate of 90 beats per minute or more • A respiratory rate greater than 20 breaths per minute • A temperature between 36ºc and 38.3ºc
Once sepsis has been diagnosed, it can be treated with medication, but in more serious cases, supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and oxygen may be required. Additionally, surgery may be necessary to remove the source of the infection.
If you are concerned about sepsis or are experiencing any symptoms of sepsis, you should contact an After Hours GP. Perth based doctors are available to answer any queries or concerns. You’ll find the After Hours GP team ready to provide you with medical attention for sepsis or any other issue.
If you would like further guidance to improve your health and wellbeing from an after hours GP, Perth residents should call us.