Governor Kay Ivey

Recently, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a proclamation recognizing the month of September as Sepsis Awareness Month in Alabama and encouraging Alabamians to learn the signs and symptoms and to seek treatment when needed.

According to the Alabama Hospital Association, sepsis is a serious condition, both inside the hospital and in the community, noting that Alabama has the second highest rate of sepsis in the country based on the CDC’s data.  The CDC also states that sepsis claims the lives of 350,000 adults each year in the United States – more than from prostate cancer, breast cancer, and opioid overdose combined.

“Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage and organ failure,” said Donald E. Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association.  “Staff at our hospitals work very hard to catch the condition early and treat it, but it’s also important that members of the public do their part to avoid hospitalization.  If individuals can remember the acronym “TIME,” it will help.  “TIME” stands for “abnormal Temperature,” “signs of an Infection,” “Mental decline,” and “Extremely ill (severe pain or shortness of break)”; if they notice any of these signs and symptoms, they should contact a healthcare provider for further instruction.”

Experts state that for every hour that treatment is delayed for individuals with sepsis, the risk of death increases by 8 percent.  In addition, older adults should be particularly watchful as 80 percent of sepsis patients are 50 years of age or older.  However, children can also become septic, and there are signs for them as well.

“We urge all Alabamians to learn the signs and symptoms and to share this information with their friends, family and co-workers,” added Williamson.  “It’s a condition we should all take seriously and one that if caught early can often be successfully treated.”

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