Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

What is sepsis?

Know the Risks. Spot the Signs. Act Fast.

Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is a life-threatening medical emergency.
Sepsis happens when an infection you already have —in your skin, lungs, urinary tract, or somewhere else—triggers a chain reaction throughout your body.
Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

Sepsis chain reaction Facebook

What causes sepsis?

When germs get into a person’s body, they can cause an infection. If that infection isn’t stopped, it can cause sepsis.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can get an infection and any infection can lead to sepsis. Certain people are at higher risk:

Sepsis icon—65+ years old

Adults 65 or older

Sepsis icon—chronic conditions

People with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney disease

Sepsis icon—weakened immune system

People with weakened immune systems

Sepsis icon—children under 1 year old

Children younger than one

I think I might have sepsis. What should I do?

If you are feeling worse or not getting better in the days after surgery, ask your healthcare professional, “Could this be sepsis?

Similarly, if you have an infection that is not getting better or is getting worse, ask your healthcare professional, “Could this infection be leading to sepsis?”

Fact Sheets

Stay Healthy. Protect Yourself From Sepsis. Fact sheet

Stay Healthy. Protect Yourself from Sepsis. Fact Sheet (Print Only) [PDF – 652 KB]
Fact sheet about the risks, signs and symptoms, and ways you can protect yourself against sepsis.

Get Ahead of Sepsis consumer bifold brochure

It’s Time to Talk about Sepsis Brochure (Print Only) [PDF – 1 MB]
Brochure about causes, risks, signs and symptoms, and ways you can protect yourself against sepsis.

Sepsis Consumer protect your family fact sheet

Protect Yourself and Your Family from Sepsis Fact Sheet (Print Only) [PDF – 2 MB]
Fact sheet about the risks, signs and symptoms, and ways you and your family can protect yourself against sepsis.

Start the Conversation Today

Start the Conversation Today (Print Only) [PDF – 2 MB]
Question and answer guide to discuss sepsis with your healthcare professional.

TOP