Stop Infections Before They Become Deadly


You can prevent one of the biggest but little known killers with a little awareness. Sepsis kills more than 270,000 people in the United States annually (by comparison COVID-19 has killed 189,000 as of September 2020) but early intervention can prevent up to 80% of those deaths. As part of Sepsis Awareness Month, Palomar Health would like you to learn its signs through an easy-to-remember acronym – TIME:
  • Temperature – Your body temperature is abnormally high or abnormally low
  • Infection – Visual signs of an infection
  • Mental decline – You become mentally sluggish or lethargic
  • Extremely ill – You feel very ill
Sepsis is the body’s extreme reaction to an infection, which can be external, such as a cut to the skin, or internal, which can be harder to identify. The key to keeping an infection from causing sepsis is early identification.

“Lost time can mean a lost life,” Palomar Health Medical Quality Officer and Emergency Room Physician David Lee, MD, said.

If you are experiencing the TIME symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. Treatments vary depending on the type of infection.

Palomar Health has made the early diagnosis of sepsis a priority. It is leveraging information technology to alert hospital staff when certain parameters suggestive of sepsis are met, including abnormal vital signs and lab results. While computers cannot diagnose sepsis, they can assist staff in catching sepsis early, before it progresses to something more serious. Healthgrades has rated both Palomar Medical Center Escondido and Palomar Medical Center Poway with five stars out of five for its survival rates of patients treated for sepsis.

Of course the best way to prevent sepsis is to keep an infection from occurring, says Dr. Lee, which includes washing your hands regularly, taking care of open wounds, taking prescribed medications as directed and staying up to date on vaccinations.

To learn more about sepsis prevention, visit the Sepsis Alliance website.

Caption: Sepsis is the body’s extreme reaction to an infection.

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