Sepsis can affect children and adults.

Symptoms in children under five years

If a child under five years has any of the following symptoms, then according to the NHS website, they should be taken straight to A&E, if the youngster:

  • looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • feels abnormally cold to touch
  • is breathing very fast
  • has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • has a fit or convulsion

Symptoms in older children and adults

Sepsis symptoms in older children and adults may develop in two stages, with the second stage known as ‘septic shock’.

According to the NHS, if you or your child have had an infection or an injury and have any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately:

Stage 1 Sepsis

  • a high temperature (fever) or low body temperature
  • chills and shivering
  • a fast heartbeat
  • fast breathing

Sometimes, if left untreated, the initial symptoms can develop into what is known as ‘septic shock’. Septic shock occurs when your blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels.

Stage 2 Sepsis (or Septic shock)

The symptoms of Septic shock include:

  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • a change in mental state – such as confusion or disorientation
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • slurred speech
  • severe muscle pain
  • severe breathlessness
  • less urine production than usual – for example, not urinating for a day
  • cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin
  • loss of consciousness

Many of these symptoms are similar to those of a person with the flu. Therefore, doctors sometimes fail to diagnose Sepsis until it is too late, potentially leading to permanent injury or even death.