Parents urged to recognise the symptoms of sepsis in young children

Date: 16 Dec 2016

Category: Campaign

We are urging parents of young children to be aware of the key symptoms of sepsis as part of a new campaign launched by Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt.

The campaign aims to increase understanding of the seriousness of sepsis, particularly amongst parents and carers of children aged 0-4, who have an increased risk of developing the condition.

"Sepsis is triggered by an infection that causes the body’s immune system to go into overdrive, setting off a series of reactions that can lead to organ failure, and in some cases, death. Education of parents of young children is vitally important to make sure they think about sepsis and act accordingly when children show any of the symptoms associated with the disease. Quick action will help to save lives and reduce ongoing problems associated with sepsis, which can be devastating for survivors and their families."

- Anne Morris, Director of Nursing and Quality

Sepsis is responsible for around 37,000 deaths in the UK each year- more than breast, bowel and prostate cancers combined. However, the UK Sepsis Trust has estimated that 10,000 of these could be prevented through early diagnosis and effective treatment.

Acting quickly can save a child’s life.  Parents of young children are therefore encouraged to go to A&E immediately or call 999 if they display any of the following symptoms:

  • Looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • feels abnormally cold to touch
  • is breathing very fast
  • has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • has a fit or convulsion.

Sepsis - NHS Choices

The UK Sepsis Trust