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Sepsis: Awareness has life-saving value

Sepsis is a problem that won’t go away. Globally, one in five deaths are caused by sepsis. In U.S. hospitals, sepsis is the leading cause of death and hospital readmissions. The condition is fast acting, is often misdiagnosed, and can be caused by a virus, bacteria, fungus or parasite.

But one of the biggest barriers to sepsis prevention and response is simple: knowledge. While most healthcare workers are aware of sepsis, many patients in the community aren’t. And with 87% of sepsis cases originating in the community, rather than in a facility, gaps in knowledge can be fatal.

“If [people] don’t realize that sepsis is a medical emergency, they’re just sitting at home thinking “this is OK, it’s going to get better,” says Sara Follin McMannus, RN, BSN, MBA, clinical advisor for the Sepsis Alliance, the leading sepsis organization in the U.S. that works to save live and reduce suffering from sepsis. “If they know the signs and symptoms of sepsis, that gets them to get help sooner.”

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