6 Ways to Prevent Sepsis in the Hospital

Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. Sepsis can develop very quickly. It can damage tissue and organs. Most of the time, sepsis is caused by a bacterial infection. An illness, an injury, or a reaction to surgery can also cause it.

Here are some things you can do to avoid sepsis while you're in the hospital.

  • Pay attention to how you feel. Sepsis can cause breathing problems, a fast heartbeat, chills, cool and clammy skin, skin rashes, and shaking. Other symptoms may include fever, low body temperature, confusion, and low blood pressure. Sepsis often causes a combination of these symptoms.

  • Tell someone on your care team if you are concerned about sepsis. If you have some of these symptoms and think something is wrong, tell a doctor or nurse. Tell them "I'm concerned about sepsis."

  • Help prevent infections. Wash your hands often while you are in the hospital. Keep any cuts, scrapes, and stitches clean. Your doctor or nurse will help with this.

  • Ask family or friends NOT to visit you if they're sick. It's best to avoid people who have colds and flu while you're in the hospital.

  • Make sure you've gotten recommended vaccines. If you've had vaccines to prevent pneumonia, flu, and other infections in the past, ask your doctor if you need another dose.

  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. When you quit smoking, you are less likely to get a cold, flu, or infection. Now can be a good time to think about quitting for good. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines.