Organisations should raise awareness of the potential signs of sepsis among their staff, a charity has urged, following the death of at least 48,000 people due to the condition last year.
As part of its Sepsis Savvy campaign, The UK Sepsis Trust is encouraging employers to equip staff with the knowledge of common sepsis symptoms, particularly as it can be confused with Covid-19.
Sepsis is when the immune system overreacts to an infection. It can often be missed as there is no one obvious sign, but symptoms in adults include slurred speech or confusion, extreme shivering or muscle pain, passing no urine in 24 hours, severe breathlessness, and skin that is mottled, blue or very pale.
Covid-19 and sepsis can both trigger a heightened immune response, as well as sharing symptoms including fever, breathlessness and muscle pain.
Around one in 12 people hospitalised with Covid-19 were at risk of developing the condition, it said.
Dr Ron Daniels, CEO and founder of the UK Sepsis Trust said: “There’s a huge lack of awareness about sepsis, which is likely to be worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic. To save lives demands both an aware public and switched-on health professionals – symptoms can vary hugely so communication is key.”
Organisations that have signed up to the campaign include Iceland Foods, Direct Line, Laing O’Rourke, Birmingham City University, and Bolton Wanderers Football Club.
By signing up, organisations can access free resources to educate employees, including an educational video and an online game.
Tarsem Dhaliwal, CEO of Iceland Foods, said: “When it comes to saving lives from sepsis we know awareness is key. That’s why we’re delighted to have been involved with Sepsis Savvy from the start and, of course, to be one of the first organisations to sign up.
“The short film and game make it easy for us to educate our colleagues about sepsis and the signs to look out for and, crucially, it’s free and really easy to implement. We’re encouraging other like-minded companies to get involved too – if we all play our part, we can save even more lives.”