This is a post prepared under a contract funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and written on behalf of the Mom It Forward Influencer Network for use in CDC’s Get Ahead of Sepsis educational effort. Opinions on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CDC.


What is Sepsis

Infections put you and your family at risk for a life-threatening condition called sepsis. Anyone can get an infection, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis. Did you know that more than 1.5 million people in America get sepsis each year?  That number alone seems astonishing, but the fact that at least 250,000 people die as a result is heartbreaking.

I spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals with my grandmother in my late teens and early twenties.  I was her healthcare proxy and one of her main caregivers. I remember some of the faces I would get when I showed up at the hospital after getting a phone call in the middle of the night.  I got quite a few comments from nurses about being an 18-year-old taking on medical decisions, but most people just didn’t understand the bond my Nana and I had.

Now nearly 20 years later, I look at other 18-year olds and wonder how I did it. More so, when I hear statistics like these, I get chills at the thought that I could have lost her far sooner than I did.

What is Sepsis?
Sepsis happens when an infection you already have, triggers a chain reaction throughout your body.  Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to that infection; it is life-threatening, and without treatment, sepsis can rapidly cause tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

The number of people who get this condition and lose their life, as a result, is heartbreaking, but the scariest statistic is that only 55% of Americans have heard of sepsis. So, act fast. Get medical care immediately if you suspect sepsis or have an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse.

Sepsis Signs and Symptoms
Sepsis signs and symptoms can include one or a combination of the following:

Confusion or disorientation
Shortness of breath
High heart rate
Fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold
Extreme pain or discomfort
Clammy or sweaty skin

Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you or your loved one suspect sepsis or has an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse, ask your doctor or nurse, “Could this infection be leading to sepsis?”


To learn more about sepsis and how to prevent infections, visit

For more information about antibiotic prescribing and use, visit

15 Comments on Get Ahead of Sepsis

  1. robin rue
    March 22, 2018 at 4:11 pm (10 months ago)

    Before my mom passed last year, she had this 5 or 6 times. It is very scary and I think it’s great you are helping to bring awareness to this.

  2. valmg @ Mom Knows It All
    March 22, 2018 at 4:13 pm (10 months ago)

    This is useful information. I remember when my Grandma was alive they worried about sepsis. Since then I’ve encountered many people unfamiliar with what it is.

  3. Jeanette
    March 22, 2018 at 4:14 pm (10 months ago)

    That is so scary to read! And I am glad you did a post like this I do have a cousin that is in the hospital quite a bit and maybe something like this will keep her from getting an infection like this.

  4. Jeanine
    March 22, 2018 at 4:30 pm (10 months ago)

    Great info. Great to know I wasn’t fully aware of sepsis before. Glad to know and can watch for now.

  5. Peter
    March 22, 2018 at 4:44 pm (10 months ago)

    I have never heard of SEPSIS before. It’s good to have tihis information. Hopefully never have to use the information.

  6. Anosa Malanga
    March 22, 2018 at 6:11 pm (10 months ago)

    I guess we really need to create more awareness about this disease. It’s critical and we might loose our loved ones if not being aware of this disease.

  7. Amber Myers
    March 22, 2018 at 7:57 pm (10 months ago)

    This is important to be aware of. My daughter had an infection and could have gotten Sepsis had we not taken her to the doctor. It was scary!

  8. Joely Smith
    March 22, 2018 at 9:01 pm (10 months ago)

    It also seems so easy to contract and what is scary is I hear it is often contracted in the hospital itself!

  9. Emily
    March 22, 2018 at 9:55 pm (10 months ago)

    This is really great information about the signs of Sepsis. It is scary how quick it can set in, causing a big problem. Thanks for the info and getting the word out.

  10. Tasheena @
    March 22, 2018 at 11:04 pm (10 months ago)

    Thanks for sharing this information. I had no idea about the sign and symptoms. This is great information to know.

  11. Gisele
    March 23, 2018 at 3:55 am (10 months ago)

    Sepsis is horrible. My Dad died of sepsis in 2004. Thank you for this post.

  12. Amy Nash
    March 23, 2018 at 5:00 am (10 months ago)

    I had no idea so many people succumbed to sepsis each year! That’s horrible! Thanks for this info!

  13. Sara Welch
    March 23, 2018 at 6:05 am (10 months ago)

    It is really good to know this term. And even better to take it seriously.

  14. Cyn Gagen
    March 23, 2018 at 5:49 pm (10 months ago)

    I always watch older shows and think of sepsis as something of the past. I forget that it’s still quite possible nowadays. I’m glad to read information like this so I can understand it better and know what to look for.

  15. Sarah Bailey
    March 23, 2018 at 8:24 pm (10 months ago)

    This is such a great post, I have to admit I know not much about sepsis. definitely something that needs more awareness raised about.

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