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  • Writer's pictureFi Ramos


Updated: Jun 4, 2020

Sepsis, also called septicaemia or blood poisoning, is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. Our immune system can’t fight the infection and instead attacks the immune system which can lead to organ failure and death. It’s not contagious and cant be transferred from person to person. Sepsis can be treated with antibiotics if treated early.

Sepsis is difficult to recognise as the symptoms present differently in children and adults and can initially be similar to flu symptoms.

For those who survive sepsis, many patients suffer long term physical and mental problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive problems, chronic pain and organ dysfunction.

Just in the UK, 5 people die every hour due to sepsis and affects 25,000 children each year. A quarter of all those who survived sepsis, will suffer from permanent and life-changing consequences.

As parent don’t hesitate to seek medical assistance if you uncertain of your childs symptoms. Its crucial to intervene early and identify symptoms of sepsis, in order for it to be treatable and a child to have a chance of survival.

The Sepsis Trust tell us that sepsis can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection. There is no one sign, and symptoms present differently between adults and children.

A child may have sepsis if presents with the following symptoms:

  • Is breathing very fast

  • Has a ‘fit’ or convulsion

  • Looks mottled, bluish or pale

  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it

  • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake

  • Feels abnormally cold to touch

  • For children under five years old, signs of sepsis can be not feeding; vomiting repeatedly or not passing urine for 12 hours.

What to do:

Call 999 or go to A&E if your baby or child has any of the above symptoms of sepsis.

Sepsis needs urgent treatment in hospital, as the condition can quickly deteriorate.

The patient should get antibiotics within 1 hour of arriving at hospital. If sepsis is not treated early, it can turn into septic shock and cause the organs to fail. This is life threatening.

You can find out more about sepsis here:


Written by Fi Ramos, Public Health Nurse & First Aid Instructor at Act2care.

Information on this site is evidence based and provided to create awareness and advice only. If you are worried about a condition, seek medical advice.

Theoretical first aid tips are beneficial, however practical demonstrations and exercises are necessary for gaining high standard of first aid knowledge and skills.

If you are interested in gaining first aid skills, contact Fi to find our more about our paediatric first aid classes at

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