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Do you know the signs of the UK’s second biggest killer?

Every 3.5 seconds someone in the world dies from it. It claims more lives annually in the UK than breast cancer, bowel cancer, prostate cancer and road accidents put together… but why does it go unnoticed?

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When I had a migraine and what felt like the world’s worst sickness bug in July last year, I would never have believed it if I was told I’d be on a drip on the emergency floor just a few hours later. It turns out I had something I’d never heard of before, even though it’s the UK’s second biggest killer – and it turns out I wasn’t alone.

Survivors of sepsis, or severe blood poisoning, are often left with life changing disabilities, like amputated limbs and even though it’s more common than heart attacks, less is known about it. Few seem to recognise its symptoms and some doctors struggle to even spot it.

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I’m one of the lucky ones; a call to the non-emergency line (111) at the right time with some quick thinking from health professionals meant I received treatment just as septic shock (the final stage of sepsis) was setting in. So thankfully, I’m here today to tell this story, and to help raise money for The UK Sepsis Trust.

Shocked by what I’d been through, I wanted to get more information about this ‘hidden killer’. I got in touch with The UK Sepsis Trust:

What is sepsis and why is raising awareness so important?

“Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is the reaction to an infection in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues. If not spotted and treated quickly, it can rapidly lead to organ failure and death. The numbers are staggering – every year in the UK 250,000 people are affected by sepsis; 44,000 people die because of sepsis and 60,000 suffer permanent, life-changing after-effects.

“Sepsis is an indiscriminate killer, claiming young and old lives alike and affecting the previously fit and healthy. It’s more common than heart attacks and kills more people than bowel, breast and prostate cancer and road accidents combined.

“Better awareness, however, would result in Earlier identification and treatment across the UK, which in turn would save 14,000 lives. Whenever there are signs of infection (and infection can be caused by anything from a small cut or insect bite to a chest infection or UTI) it’s crucial that members of the public seek medical attention urgently and ‘Just Ask: “Could it be sepsis?”: with every hour that passes before the right antibiotics are administered, risk of death increases.”

Me a week before I was hospitalised, I felt completely fit & healthy. I was completely unprepared for what was coming.

If sepsis is “The Most Preventable Cause of Death and Disability in Europe”, why have so few people heard of it, and why is so little understood about it?

“Sepsis is partly poorly recognised because it mimics other conditions in its early stages and is insidious in onset – there’s no specific event that marks the development of sepsis. As such, it builds up over a period of hours or days, which makes it harder to identify. It’s also unfamiliar to many people because the focus remains on the infection that leads to sepsis, and sepsis itself goes unmentioned.”

How will donations help and what does the money go towards?

“The UK Sepsis Trust is independently funded, so it’s the generosity of our supporters and donors which allows us to continue the fight against sepsis. Headed by world leader in sepsis and NHS Consultant Dr. Ron Daniels, the UK Sepsis Trust has a clear mission to save lives and improve outcomes for survivors of sepsis by instigating political change, educating healthcare professionals, raising public awareness, and providing support for those affected.”

I’m taking part in Rough Runner, a 15km run with obstacles, and I’m running for The UK Sepsis Trust. I’ve almost hit my target but in the lead up to the event on Sunday, I would love to surpass this and raise some well needed awareness.

If you want to find out more information about sepsis go to The UK Sepsis Trust’s website.

If you wish to sponsor me on my run, visit my JustGiving page or text SVER77 £2 to 70070

HOW DO I SPOT SEPSIS?

Sepsis could occur as the result of any infection. There is no one sign for sepsis.
Sepsis is a serious condition that can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection.

Seek medical help urgently if you develop any of the following:

Slurred speech or confusion
Extreme shivering or muscle pain
Passing no urine (in a day)
Severe breathlessness
It feels like you’re going to die
Skin mottled or discoloured

SEPSIS IN CHILDREN

If your child is unwell with either a fever or very low temperature (or has had a fever in the last 24 hours), just ask: could it be sepsis?

Any child who:

– Is breathing very fast
– Has a ‘fit’ or convulsion
– Looks mottled, bluish, or pale
– Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
– Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
– Feels abnormally cold to touch

Might have sepsis. Call 999 and just ask: could it be sepsis?

Any child under 5 who:

– Is not feeding
– Is vomiting repeatedly
– Hasn’t had a wee or wet nappy for 12 hours

Might have sepsis. If you’re worried they’re deteriorating call 111 or see your GP.

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Free cancer course comes to Crawley

Living Well courses are free and empower people with cancer and their supporters to rediscover their joy of living.

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Course Photo – Penny Brohn UK is hosting a free, two-day cancer support course.

A leading cancer charity is hosting a free support course in Crawley for people with cancer and their close supporter.

Penny Brohn UK’s two-day Living Well course takes place at the Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre, West Green Drive, on 17 and 24 November, from 10am to 5.30pm.

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The course addresses cancer’s physical and psychological impact and shows how healthy eating, exercise and relaxation can improve health and wellbeing, before, during and after medical treatment.

Penny Brohn UK Living Well regional partnership manager Supriya More said: “Cancer can be overwhelming, but many small things can add up to make a big difference to the way people cope as they prepare for, undergo or recover from treatment.

“Our Living Well helps people take back some control of their lives.”

A recent course attendee added:

“I highly recommend this to everyone with cancer and those supporting them.

“If anything, it was more valuable to my husband (I’m the one with cancer) – it gave him the opportunity to talk to others in the same situation.”

With over 39 years’ experience, Penny Brohn UK recognises that people with cancer need more than medicine.

Its Bristol Whole Life Approach provides integrated whole person cancer support that works alongside medical treatment to achieve the best health and wellbeing.

The approach explores areas such as diet, exercise, relationships and managing stress, through free residential and day courses, one-to-one therapies, groups and national helpline.

Living Well courses are free and empower people with cancer and their supporters to rediscover their joy of living.

Places are limited and first come, first served.

To book or for more information, call 0303 3000 118, email bookings@pennybrohn.org.uk or visit www.pennybrohn.org.uk/national-living-well-services

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