By Michaela Gates, Staff Writer
In today’s society going septic is a serious and life threatening medical emergency, that requires close monitoring and immediate medical attention.
When diagnosed with sepsis, a medical team has to work hard in closely monitoring the patient every second of the day, most cases resulting in an admission to the ICU, the intensive care unit, where the patient can be closely assessed.
Certified Nurse Renee Dyer feels educating college students about sepsis is critical. “I think more people need to be aware of how serious this illness can be. It is very serious, and anyone can be at risk. It can come from something so simple like a cut,” stresses Dyer. “Certainly, those that are medically inflicted, and the elderly are more at risk; however, more people need to know that anyone can get sepsis.”
Sepsis can often be hard to detect at times and some cases may be mistreated leading to more serious affects.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there is a lengthy list of symptoms that go into the diagnosis of sepsis including a heart rate that is higher than average, shortness of breath when breathing, confusion/disorientation, pain that is extreme, clammy/sweaty skin and shivering, fever or very cold.
There are multiple illnesses that can lead to sepsis and often many people are unaware; feeling as if they are invisible, to the illness. Sepsis can occur in the smallest cut or someone who is already subjected to another illness, both results could send the whole body into disfunction.
“People need to be aware that infections can lead to sepsis and especially the younger generation feels as if they are invisible and say, ‘I will be fine,” and not clean their cut properly,” said Dyer. “You have to take care of yourself and be careful of sharing germs in something as simple as towels in dorm rooms.”
When looking to adults, men and women can both experience sepsis in result of an infection. The CDC breaks it down as such: “[T]hirty-five percent had a lung infection (e.g., pneumonia), twenty-five had a urinary tract infection (e.g., kidney infection), eleven percent had a type of gut infection and eleven percent had a skin infection.”
People both individually and collaboratively can help to prevent sepsis along with bringing an awareness to the illness.
The CDC states that education is key and early detection is crucial and that one should know when to seek medical care, doctors should remind patients that in order to prevent sepsis is by knowing how to take care of their chronic illness, along with keeping up with their vaccinations and proper hygiene.
Dyer has important tips and advice for students living on campus or commuting. “First, remember that sepsis is a medical emergency; although, rare it still happens. Secondly, you want to act fast and don’t ignore your symptoms.
If you feel you are getting worse, you must get checked out and seek medical assistance.”
The Director of Nursing at a resident treatment facility in Bryn Mawr, Donna Wisely, has a daughter who has gone septic an estimated twenty-four times.
Sarah Wisely has fought for her life on many occasions and recently went septic this winter. Her mother advocates for Sarah and others like her to bring an overall awareness to sepsis.
Carol Nadeau, grandmother of Sarah Wisely and teacher assistant at Westport Elementary School holds her breath every time her granddaughter has gone septic.
“It makes me fearful because the next time she gets sick, you just never know…”
It is important that our generation educates themselves about sepsis because of how often it can occur, “I think a lot of people don’t realize how important it is, people your age can learn more and they don’t realize that for certain people it can happen quite a bit.”
The power of hope is what will guide people through and is something that can never be lost.
“I think you always have to hope and always look that it’s going to be better even if in your heart it doesn’t always feel that way” says Nadeau.