If your condition has changed since you last saw a doctor, this leaflet is provided to help you decide if you need further healthcare or assessment.
This leaflet has been produced in collaboration with The UK Sepsis Trust. This is a UK charity that is committed to raising awareness of sepsis and improving the care patients with sepsis receive.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition and needs emergency treatment, usually in hospital. The symptoms of sepsis may be vague and not specific so seek medical advice immediately if you have any concerns.
You should always seek help if you, or anyone you’re with, develops:
Slurred speech or confusion.
Extreme shivering or muscle pain.
Passing no urine (in a day).
It feels like you’re going to die.
Skin mottled or discoloured.
Other symptoms which could suggest sepsis include:
- VERY high temperature (fever) or low body temperature (feels very cold).
- Feeling very sleepy or about to lose consciousness.
- Severe tummy (abdominal) pain.
- Feeling very dizzy or faint, or having a fit (seizure).
- A rash which does not fade with pressure.
- Not eating any food or drinking any fluid.
- Being sick (vomiting) repeatedly.
If you do have sepsis you may also have other symptoms of infection such as a flu-like illness (cough, fever, muscle aches and joint pains) or diarrhoea and vomiting.
Early treatment saves lives. Call 999 if you are very concerned. Call your GP immediately if you’re concerned, but don’t think you need to go straight to hospital. If there is any delay in talking to a doctor then call 999.
Further reading and references
Jawad I, Luksic I, Rafnsson SB; Assessing available information on the burden of sepsis: global estimates of incidence, prevalence and mortality. J Glob Health. 2012 Jun2(1):010404. doi: 10.7189/jogh.02.010404.
Sepsis - recognition, diagnosis and early management; NICE Guideline (July 2016 - updated September 2017)