What Is Sepsis?

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Over one million cases of sepsis occur each year, and up to half of those who get sepsis will die.

Although older adults and young children are at highest risk, sepsis can affect anyone. The good news is that you can take steps to prevent sepsis

Signs of Sepsis  

There is no single sign or symptom of sepsis. It is, rather, a combination of symptoms. Since sepsis is the result of an infection, symptoms can include infection signs (diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, etc.), as well as ANY of the symptoms below:

S—Shivering, fever, or very cold
E—Extreme pain or general discomfort ("worst ever")
P—Pale or discolored skin
S—Sleepy, difficult to rouse, confused
I—"I feel like I might die"
S—Short of breath


What to Do If You Think You Have Sepsis

  • Call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately if you have any signs or symptoms of an infection or sepsis. This is a medical emergency.
  • It’s important that you say, “I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SEPSIS.”
  • If you are continuing to feel worse or not getting better in the days after surgery, ask your doctor about sepsis. Sepsis is a common complication of people hospitalized for other reasons.

How You Can Protect Yourself

  • Get vaccinated against the flu, pneumonia, and any other infections that could lead to sepsis. Talk to your doctor for more information.
  • Prevent infections that can lead to sepsis by cleaning scrapes and wounds and practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands and bathing regularly.
  • If you have an infection, seek medical treatments for signs of sepsis like fever, chills, rapid breathing and heartrate, rash, confusion, and disorientation.

How Lakeland Is Improving Sepsis Outcomes

Lakeland utilizes data from our electronic health record system to help clinicians identify patients who may be at risk for sepsis. By identifying and treating sepsis more quickly, we have dramatically improved outcomes for those suffering from the disease. These efforts have earned national recognition

Lakeland is also part of the MHA Keystone Center: Sepsis collaborative, which is working to reduce mortality from severe sepsis and septic shock through early recognition and prompt initiation of appropriate antibiotics and fluid resuscitation. 

Learn More

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Global Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance