Over 1 million patients develop sepsis each year in the United States. Sepsis is the body’s potentially deadly response to an infection, characterized by widespread inflammation. It damages healthy tissues and causes blood clots that harm the blood vessels, interrupts the delivery of nutrients to the organs, and ends in organ failure.
Patients with bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infections are at risk of sepsis, and those who recover from it often live with permanent consequences, such as chronic pain or limb loss. The elderly with chronic diseases and already weakened immune systems are also especially susceptible to developing sepsis than younger patients, with many cases linked to contractions in hospitals and nursing homes.
If you’ve been diagnosed with pneumonia, influenza, or other chronic infection, you can take steps to prevent getting sepsis. Similarly, you can help a loved one decrease his or her sepsis risk.
PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE
Practicing good hygiene, at home or in the hospital is critical to preventing sepsis. Thorough hand washing for at least 20 seconds each time, getting between your fingers and under your nails, and using a hand sanitizer afterward can help reduce sepsis risk. Wash your hands before and after eating, before and after going to the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, after being outside, and after contact with others.
A large percentage of sepsis patients have pneumonia, so preventing pneumonia through vaccination, is also a major step in preventing sepsis. People over the age of 60, especially those with chronic diseases should not miss their annual flu shots. The flu shot not only prevents pneumonia but also other respiratory infections that can lead to sepsis.
LEARN PROPER WOUND CARE
A skin infection can also lead to sepsis, which is why proper wound care is essential to decreasing sepsis risk. The wound needs to be washed with unscented soap and water, cleaned out any remaining dirt or debris, and covered with a bandage or dressing.
If you have a wound that isn’t healing, have it examined by a medical professional. Patients with diabetes need proper physician-assisted care for their condition to reduce the risk of other diabetes-related problems, including diabetic foot sores and infection. The longer it takes the wound to heal, the worse it can get, and the greater the risk for sepsis.
WOUND-HEALING CENTER IN WOOSTER, OH
If you are concerned about sepsis, at Wooster Community Hospital’s Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Healing Center, we provide specialized wound care for patients with diabetic foot ulcers, traumatic injuries, radiation injuries, venous stasis ulcers, post-surgical incisions, burns, and more. In addition to wound treatment, we also offer oxygen therapy to our patients using a hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) chamber, which delivers oxygen throughout the body to stimulate wound-healing and prevent infection.
If you have questions about our services or to schedule an appointment with our wound management experts, call (330) 263-8750. Our friendly staff looks forward to receiving your call!