It's a scary fact that there are bacteria lurking in our world that can be fatal if not treated quickly and appropriately. And with the rise of antibiotic resistance, these bugs are becoming more common. A simple cut or scrape could turn deadly if it becomes infected. Fortunately, some hospitals are recognizing this risk and taking steps to reduce the chances of this happening.
You may have heard of sepsis, or blood poisoning, before. This infection is a common culprit in cases that seem to shift from simple to deadly in a matter of days. It's one of the top seven causes of death in the U.S. and has a mortality rate above 10%. Sepsis can be treated, but it's best if it's caught early. The later it's recognized, the harder it is to fight. Recognizing this, healthcare providers at Levanger Hospital in Norway have implemented some successful steps to help reduce the risk of this serious infection in their patients.
The hospital provided increased training for nurses. Then they implemented a special observation chart to help doctors and nurses recognize the signs of sepsis and its severity as early as possible. A treatment course was also made standard to help the practitioners know what to do as soon as they spotted a problem.
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The program was tremendously successful, with patient mortality from sepsis decreasing by 40%. Patients were also less likely to develop a serious case of sepsis, with this number dropping 30%. And the patients even spent an average of 3.7 fewer days in the ICU, making this a win-win for both the patients and the hospital.
Sepsis can be difficult to identify, but these results show that doing so can be simpler than many doctors and nurses might think. As rates of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and antibiotic resistance continue to rise, the incidence of sepsis will likely rise as well. If you or a loved one is going to be spending time in the hospital, ask about the procedures for identifying and treating a sepsis infection. Ensuring that your care providers are aware of and on the lookout for this infection could save your life.
The early signs of sepsis usually include rapid breathing and a change in mental status, such as reduced alertness or confusion. Other common symptoms are fever and shaking chills or, alternatively, a very low body temperature. If you personally suspect that you've contracted a sepsis infection, don't wait to seek medical care. It's vital to start treatment right away to stop the infection in its tracks. One of the best treatments for sepsis is ozone therapy. Find a doctor near you trained in ozone therapy. They could save your life.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD