MASON CITY, Iowa – Sepsis is a serious infection that can kill if not detected early. Many people do not know about it, so doctors at Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa are pushing to raise awareness.
“Usually it affects the very young or the very old. In fact, 85 percent of the cases are those over the age of 65 and those that are compromised and I think it can often be confusing with other diseases, so early detection is very important,” says Dr. Douglas Summerfield.
In recognition of Sepsis Awareness Week at Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa, health care professionals have been putting together a team to work on recognition and treatment.
“Care providers are key to prevention by recognizing and treating the symptoms early and by encouraging patients to practice good hand washing, take care of their chronic illnesses and vaccinate against infections,” says Jennifer Thoe, Stroke and Sepsis Coordinator.
There is no single symptom of sepsis but rather a combination of symptoms to be aware of.
“It’s not just fever. A fever can happen with any sort of infection. Its fever with other symptoms such as altered mental status, confusion and abdominal pain,” says Dr. Douglas.
“One other tip for the community when you get antibiotics for an infection is to take them as recommended by your doctor for the full amount of time that its recommended,” says Thoe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 7 out of 10 patients with sepsis had recently used health services or had chronic diseases requiring frequent medical care.