The Health December 2020 - Page 19

International Day of Disabled Persons
Sepsis is a preventable disease , and its early recognition can save limbs and lives

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december , 2020 | The Health

19

International Day of Disabled Persons

Paying tribute to sepsis survivors

Sepsis is a preventable disease , and its early recognition can save limbs and lives

Madam Siti is a senior citizen

staying alone in an apartment . One day her neighbours noted that she was less responsive at home .
She was sent to hospital via ambulance . According to the neighbour , Siti had flu one month ago . Her appetite was poor . She was having fever , shortness of breath and was unable to walk for the past week , and her condition deteriorated .
When she reached the hospital , she was already comatose ; doctor put her on ventilators . Her hands and toes were all black . After the intensive treatment in the ICU , she survived . However , she had both hands and the gangrene toes amputated . She had sepsis !
Sepsis is a potential life-threatening condition when our body responds towards serious infections . The infections can be caused by bacteria , virus ( Covid-19 etc ), fungus and parasite .
During infections , our body will release chemicals to counter and kill the invading pathogen . However , when the pathogen is too strong , our body will counteract with more chemicals . This will trigger a very severe inflammation .
This inflammation not only kills the germs , but also directly injures our organs such as heart , lungs , kidneys and muscles . The blood vessels will become dilated , and some will clot , causing low blood pressure and septic shock . The shock can cause limb gangrene and even lead to death .
Usually , those at risk of getting sepsis are elderly or very young children , have a weakened immune system , have chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes , lung or kidney disease , those who are on steroid or chemotherapy , and last but not least sepsis survivors with repeated sepsis episodes .
Sepsis is a medical emergency
What are the signs and symptoms of sepsis ? The word “ SEPSIS ” abbreviates all
Sepsis is a potential lifethreatening condition when our body responds towards serious infections . The infections can be caused by bacteria , virus ( Covid-19 etc ), fungus and parasite .” sepsis Alert
By Assoc Prof Dr Tan Toh Leong
and Assoc Prof Dr Neoh Hui-min its symptoms : ‘ S ’ = shivering ; ‘ E ’ = extreme pain or discomfort ; The ‘ P ’ = pale or skin discolorations ; ‘ S ’ = Slurred Speech ; ‘ I ’ = ‘ I feel like I might die ’; and last but not least ‘ S ’ = shortness of breath .
What should we do when we suspect sepsis ? First , we have to understand that sepsis is a medical emergency . All sepsis patients should seek treatment immediately in hospital . If we are unsure , we can always call 999 for teleconsultations . Doctors or paramedics will tell you whether you are having sepsis , and the need to come to hospital .
What happens when we are admitted to hospital ? First , doctors will run some blood tests to see how bad our inflammation is . They will try to identify the infection source .
Injectable antibiotics will be started immediately . They also will start IV drip to rehydrate the patients . Patients will be given some steroids to boost their immunity and control inflammation .
If the blood pressure is low , doctors will start medication to support it . If the oxygen level of the patient is low and the patient suffers shortness of breath , they will be put on oxygen supply or in the worst case scenario , mechanical ventilation machines .
Sepsis is a preventable disease . Early recognition saves limbs and lives . Sepsis identification is not easy , but with simple training , we can identify sepsis immediately .
Every year , 3rd December is the International Day of Disabled Persons . Let us pay tribute to our brave sepsis survivors who had lost their limbs while fighting sepsis !
Let us hand in hand make Malaysia free from sepsis . — The Health
Assoc Prof Dr Tan Toh Leong is Consultant Emergency Physician , Faculty of Medicine , Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia ( UKM ), Founder and President of Malaysian Sepsis Alliance ( MySepsis ) while Assoc Prof Dr Neoh Hui-min is Senior Research Fellow , UKM Medical Molecular Biology Institute ( UMBI ), UKM and Secretary of Malaysian Sepsis Alliance .