28 Jul Coronavirus: Thousands of COVID-19 survivors could be diagnosed with sepsis, charity warns | UK News
People are being warned to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of sepsis after a study found that as many as 20,000 COVID-19 survivors could be diagnosed with the condition within a year.
One in five people who receive hospital treatment for the coronavirus are at risk, according to the UK Sepsis Trust.
Sepsis is triggered when the body overreacts to an infection, causing the immune system to turn on itself – leading to tissue damage, organ failure and potentially death.
If spotted quickly, it can be treated with antibiotics before it turns into septic shock and damages vital organs.
Dr Ron Daniels, founder of the UK Sepsis Trust, says everyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 – even those who only suffered mild symptoms – should know how to spot the condition.
There are six signs to look out for, and they spell out the word sepsis:
- S for slurred speech and confusion
- E for extreme pain in the muscles or joints
- P for passing no urine in a day
- S for severe breathlessness
- I for “it feels like I’m going to die”
- S for skin that is mottled or discoloured
The UK Sepsis Trust wants the government to invest in a national awareness campaign, as it warns a sharp rise in cases could kill many people and cost the NHS more than £1bn in patient care.
The charity and the York Health Economics Consortium have said the NHS could save more than £5,500 for each patient who is diagnosed early.
Dr Daniels said the data was a reminder of “the enormity of the threat of infectious disease to mankind”.
“We urgently need all health professionals, as well as the general public, to be aware of the signs of sepsis and subsequently avoid adding to the magnitude of this issue,” he continued.
“Failing to do so will apply even greater pressure on the NHS as they face traditional winter pressures and potentially a second wave of COVID-19.”
Last year, a study published in The Lancet journal found sepsis was a bigger killer than bowel, breast and pancreatic cancer combined, while the UK Sepsis Trust said there were about 245,000 cases in the UK each year.