September is Sepsis Awareness Month. Sepsis affects over 750,000 Americans each year, and 215,000 die from sepsis—making it one of the most common causes of death. You may have never heard the word sepsis (44% of Americans haven’t), but you’ve likely heard someone “dying of complications of ________” which is often sepsis. Sepsis occurs when your body identifies an infection and overreacts and destroys healthy cells and organs. (One instance where you don’t want to be an overachiever!)
Two years ago in December, my mom died after getting the flu, pneumonia, and then eventually developing sepsis at the age of 54. In a million years I’d never guess my mom’s pesky holiday cold would develop into something so terrible, so quickly. Sepsis can happen to anyone. Young, old, healthy, or not.
Here are three things you can do right now to help stop sepsis:
1. Make a donation. I’m making one in honor of my mom. There are many unknowns when it comes to sepsis. Making a donation to organizations like the Sepsis Alliance can help to support patients and further research.
2. Get a flu shot! It’s true—the flu probably won’t kill you. But the things that can develop once your immune system has been compromised from having the flu most definitely can kill you. September is a perfect time to schedule your flu vaccine.
3. Read about sepsis and know the warning signs. Early detection and treatment are essential to helping an individual who is developing or has developed sepsis.