It’s Your Hands – Prevent Sepsis: Says WHO

Prevent Sepsis

WHO marked 5 May, to highlight the importance of hand hygiene in health care. The slogan of this year’s campaign is “It’s in your hands – prevent sepsis in health care”

To spread awareness regarding the important relationship between good infection prevention and control practices, by washing hands, and preventing sepsis.

What is Sepsis?

Prevent Sepsis

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by bacterial infection in the blood, called septicemia and arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. If not recognized early and managed promptly, it can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure and death. It is a serious complication of infection and  a major cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. It is a medical emergency.

It frequently affects patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), who have undergone procedures required to support organ function and control severe underlying conditions. Device-associated infections are the most common ICU-acquired healthcare-associated infection (HAIs) and frequently result in sepsis.

Early signs of prevelance of sepsis, must exhibit at least two of the following symptoms, plus a probable or confirmed infection:

Prevent Sepsis

  • Body temperature above 101 F (38.3 C) or below 96.8 F (36 C)
  • Heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute
  • Respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute

Severe sepsis

Your diagnosis will be upgraded to severe sepsis if you also exhibit at least one of the following signs and symptoms, which indicate an organ may be failing:

  • Significantly decreased urine output
  • Abrupt change in mental status
  • Decrease in platelet count
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal heart pumping function
  • Abdominal pain

Septic shock

The above mentioned signs and symptoms of severe sepsis — plus extremely low blood pressure that doesn’t adequately respond to simple fluid replacement is an indication of septic shock.

Risk factors

Sepsis is more common and more dangerous if you:

  • Are very young or very old
  • Have a compromised immune system
  • Are already very sick, often in a hospital’s intensive care unit
  • Have wounds or injuries, such as burns
  • Have invasive devices, such as intravenous catheters or breathing tubes

Prevent Sepsis

Early management of sepsis requires respiratory stabilization. Supplemental oxygen should be given to all patients. Mechanical ventilation is recommended when supplemental oxygen fails to improve oxygenation, when respiratory failure is imminent, or when the airway cannot be protected.

WHO is calling on countries and health care facilities to strengthen infection prevention and control programmes based on WHO guidelines. These include a set of core components for successful implementation of national and facility-level infection prevention and control programmes.

Clean hands make the health system a safer place to receive care.




The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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