Can you recognize the signs of sepsis? They are confusion or disorientation, shortness
of breath, high heart rate, fever, shivering, feeling very cold, extreme pain or discomfort,
and clammy or sweaty skin.
Sepsis has high morbidity and mortality among pediatric patients, with 60% of cases
occurring in children’s hospitals. But evidence suggests that children have a better
chance of survival and improved outcomes than adults.
Several resources are available for pediatricians and pediatric hospitals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created materials as part
of a Get Ahead of Sepsis awareness campaign that pediatricians can use to educate
families. Children with chronic health conditions and those under age 1 are particularly
vulnerable to sepsis, which most often is caused by infections from Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and some types of Streptococcus. Current immunizations, proper care for chronic health conditions, wound care and
hand hygiene are particularly important to prevent sepsis in these high-risk groups.
Find practice resources at www.cdc.gov/sepsis.
The AAP Section on Emergency Medicine’s Septic Shock Collaborative has been working
on best practices to prevent pediatric sepsis. Improving Pediatric Sepsis Outcomes,
available at http://bit.ly/2wEoiFF, is focused on reducing mortality and hospital-onset sepsis in participating hospitals
by 75% by 2020.
The AAP Section on Critical Care is working with the Society of Critical Care Medicine
on the Surviving Sepsis Campaign, which includes guidelines and information for severe
sepsis care. The campaign also offers a free Surviving Sepsis app that includes a
screening tool and treatment guidelines via Google Play or iTunes, http://bit.ly/2wGo6aB.