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Spotting Sepsis in Children

Spotting Sepsis in Children

Globally sepsis is thought to affect approximately 27,000,000 people each year. It is no respecter of age and, worldwide, six million children under five are thought to die from the illness.

Children are vulnerable to sepsis

In the UK it is believed that around a quarter of all sepsis deaths every year could be avoided. To help achieve this, early recognition of the symptoms in both children and adults is crucial to survival. In fact, young children are thought to be more susceptible to developing sepsis.

It is vital that medical practitioners are alert to the early symptoms of sepsis and the government is working to increase awareness amongst all aspects of health care. It is crucial that parents and carers also understand the key symptoms of sepsis in children and understand the need to act on them promptly.

Symptoms of sepsis in children

Symptoms of sepsis in children include the following:

  • Feeling cold to the touch
  • Breathing very quickly
  • Being very lethargic
  • Looks pale or turning blueish
  • A fast heartbeat
  • With a high or low temperature
  • Has convulsions

These symptoms warrant an immediate response, such as attending A & E, as the child is clearly extremely unwell.

Sepsis is triggered by the body's over-reaction to an infection and so a child who appears to be suffering from an infection requires careful monitoring.

Sepsis develops most frequently in response to abdominal, chest and urinary infections although it can be a response to an infection elsewhere in the body.

Treating sepsis

Sepsis can kill and requires emergency treatment.

Antibiotics need to be administered to someone suspected of developing sepsis within an hour of diagnosis in order to minimise the condition's potential impact.

Fluids, and possibly oxygen, may also need to be administered to the patient to help the body fight off sepsis.

Medical practitioners will also try to identify the underlying infection through taking blood samples in order to try to target treatment on the specific focus of infection and thereby reduce the body's response.

Medical negligence

Sepsis can be treated effectively if it is spotted promptly but if a delay occurs in diagnosis then the outcome can be poor.

If you or a loved one have suffered the long-term effects of undiagnosed sepsis, contact us to discuss your experience with a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

You may appropriate to consider making a claim for compensation.

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