Medical moment: Here are some things you should know about sepsis

September is Sepsis Awareness Month, and this month, clinicians launch programs to educate the community and peers on the current goals of care for sepsis. This year, one of Houston Methodist Baytown’s goals of care is to ensure public awareness of sepsis. 

What is sepsis? 

The definition of sepsis, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is the body’s overwhelming response to an infection. Sepsis usually starts with an infection and leads to an inflammatory response, causing our body organs to function inappropriately. If the sepsis cascade is not stopped, the body continues to spiral into a series of events that worsen a person’s condition.

Is sepsis treatable? 

Sepsis IS treatable. If the criteria are met for the suspicion or confirmation of sepsis, providers will evaluate for a source of infection and begin a treatment regimen. For adult patients, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), has routinely updated the guidelines on treating sepsis in patient care settings. 

The SCCM “Surviving Sepsis Campaign” initiative supports the timely dispensing and delivery of fluid resuscitation and antibiotics in patients. In addition, a specific set of laboratory tests will complement the prescribed regimen of fluid resuscitation and antibiotics. It is important to remember that laboratory testing consists of an obligatory microbiology portion that may take hours and up to 3 days for results to be published in a patient’s chart. After the results are published, the prescribed regimen can change to target the specific source of the infection.

What does raising public sepsis awareness mean? 

Many patients have not heard of the word “sepsis.”  The intent of raising sepsis awareness is to equip and empower the public to seek medical care if symptomatic. As a result, the “It’s About TIME” campaign was created and sponsored by the Sepsis Alliance. The goal of the national campaign is to increase public awareness of sepsis. Further, the Sepsis Alliance states TIME stands for Temperature, Infection, Mental decline, and Extremely ill. 

What can you do about sepsis? 

Sepsis is a critical clinical condition and should be treated as such.  If you think you have an infection and you have the symptoms of sepsis, you are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately. Next, communicate with your family and friends about sepsis. If you are uncertain about your symptoms, be encouraged to discuss them with your doctor.

Lastly, nearly all infections can lead to sepsis. The goal of raising the community’s awareness of sepsis is to decrease the incidence and prevalence of sepsis. If untreated, the complications of sepsis can potentially lead to death. For this reason, clinicians are trained to recognize and treat sepsis as an emergency.

For more information, please consult your physician. If you need a primary care physician, visit or call 346.699.5685.

About Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital

Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital has provided Baytown and east Harris, Liberty and Chambers counties with excellent medical care since its opening in 1948. The hospital continues to grow to meet the health care needs of its growing community through an ongoing construction and renovation program that has seen the opening of a new five-story patient tower, emergency center, outpatient center and medical-surgical units. As a health care leader, the hospital is proud to have a fully integrated residency program focused on educating and inspiring future practitioners. Today, Houston Methodist Baytown provides the most advanced and innovative procedures while never wavering from its focus on compassionate care and providing a safe, patient-centered healing environment.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.