Could it be SEPSIS?

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-1091/2022
  • Departments: Infection Prevention and Control
  • Last Updated: 1 June 2022

We’ve given you this leaflet because you have an infection or suspected infection. Hopefully you will get better and have no further problems. But sometimes it can get worse and may develop into sepsis. This leaflet will help you decide if you need further healthcare or an assessment.

Sepsis is a severe infection, which can be life threatening, and needs emergency treatment, usually in hospital. The symptoms of sepsis may be unclear, so seek medical advice immediately if you have any concerns.

Always get help if you or anyone has:

Slurred speech or confusion

Extreme shivering or muscle pain

Passing no urine within 12-18 hours

Severe breathlessness

It feels like you’re going to die

Skin mottled or discolored


Other symptoms which could suggest sepsis include:
—     VERY high temperature (fever) or low body temperature (feels very cold)
—     Feeling very sleepy or about to lose consciousness
—     Severe tummy (abdominal) pain
—     Feeling very dizzy or faint, or having a fit (seizure)
—     A rash which does not fade with pressure4
—     Not eating any food or drinking any fluid
—     Being sick (vomiting) repeatedly

If you do have sepsis you may also have other symptoms of infection such as a fu-like illness (cough, fever, muscle aches and joint pains) or diarrhoea and vomiting.

Early treatment saves lives.
Call your GP or 111 immediately if you’re concerned

Call 999 if you are very concerned, or if there’s a delay in talking to your doctor.

If you have had a definite diagnosis of sepsis whilst you have been in hospital, and would like to arrange an appointment with our Sepsis Specialist Nurses, to discuss any ongoing health concerns related to sepsis, or for support in general then please contact:

Please note this is not an emergency service. For more information visit:

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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