As flu season is heading into peak season, Orange Park Medical Center is spreading awareness around sepsis, the body’s overwhelming response to an infection. Viral illnesses such as the flu, can sometimes trigger sepsis. For some, influenza (the flu) can cause pneumonia which is a common cause of sepsis.
Dr. Jennifer Chapman, Emergency Physician at Orange Park Medical Center says history shows that sepsis cases rise during flu season. As many as 1 in 3 people diagnosed with sepsis pass away from their illness and those that survive can be left with chronic symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss or difficulties with activities of daily living. In extreme cases sepsis can lead to amputation or organ dysfunction.
“It is so important that our community understands the symptoms of sepsis and the importance of seeking emergency medical help as soon as those symptoms are recognized,” says Chapman. In most cases, sepsis can be treated with antibiotics, intravenous fluids or medication that increases your blood pressure.
While low grade fever and mild weakness may occur with any infection, the following symptoms are warning signs of sepsis and should be taken seriously. If someone experiences two or more of these symptoms it is recommended that they seek medical attention.
- Shivering, fever or feeling cold
- Extreme pain or general discomfort (“feeling the worst pain ever”)
- Pale or discolored skin
- Severe sleepiness, difficulty waking or confusion
- “I feel like I might Die” feeling
- Shortness of breath
Dr. Chapman says the best way to avoid sepsis during flu season is to practice good hand hygiene, rest and let your body recover if you feel ill. If you come down with the flu, stay hydrated, rest and most importantly get your flu vaccination.
Orange Park Medical Center is the only hospital in Clay County and one of two in the Jacksonville area that is certified by the Joint Commission for sepsis care.