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Spotting signs of sepsis

South Devon and Torbay CCG is supporting a nationwide campaign to help parents spot the symptoms of sepsis to protect young children and save lives.

The campaign, launched by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, is principally aimed at parents and carers of young children aged 0-4 and will include a new film featuring Melissa Mead, who lost her son William to sepsis in December 2014.

The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that there are more than 120,000 cases of sepsis in adults and children each year in England, resulting in about 37,000 deaths.

Dr Nick D’Arcy, the CCG’s clinical lead for patient safety and quality, said: “Although most children happily bounce back after an infection, we all need to be aware of the possibility of sepsis in order to catch it before it develops.

“The campaign will help parents recognise signs and symptoms in those vital early stages, which will result in a better chance of survival.”

Leaflets and posters are being sent to GP surgeries and hospitals across the country. These materials, developed with the Royal Colleges, will urge parents to call 999 or take their child to A&E if they display any of the following signs:

  • Looks mottled, bluish or pale

  • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake

  • Feels abnormally cold to touch

  • Is breathing very fast

  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it

  • Has a fit or convulsion

The campaign is also backed by Sue and Scott Morrish, of Newton Abbot, whose three-year-old son Sam died of sepsis in 2010.

Sue said: “The sepsis campaign is hugely important to us, and it will be incredibly significant to other parents as well.

“It is really important to realise that sepsis can develop from many sources, so even if you think your child has flu, chickenpox or another condition, if your child seems more ill than they would normally be, then think sepsis.”

The campaign is led by NHS England, and supported by the UK Sepsis Trust and Public Health England.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Sepsis is a devastating condition that we need to get far better at spotting across the NHS.

“By raising awareness and improving clinical practice, we will save lives in the fight against this horrible illness.”

For further information on sepsis, visit nhs.uk/sepsis or www.sepsistrust.org.