What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition and needs emergency treatment, usually in hospital. The symptoms of sepsis may be vague and not specific. If your child is unwell with either a fever or very low temperature (or has had a fever in the last 24 hours), just ask: Could it be sepsis?

It is important to note that sepsis can develop quickly. So even if your child has been seen and sent home by one of our team, it is important you keep an eye on them. If you are worried that they are getting worse, or are sicker than you might expect act quickly. If you're worried they're deteriorating call 111 or see your GP.

If your child has any of the following, seek medical advice immediately (call 999 if you can’t get immediate access to a doctor) and ask: Could it be sepsis?

  • Is breathing very fast.
  • Has a 'fit' or convulsion.
  • Has clammy, cold skin and looks blue, pale or patchy (mottled).
  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it.
  • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake.
  • Feels abnormally cold to touch.

Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • Severe shivering.
  • Severe muscle pain or tummy (abdominal) pain.
  • Being confused or disorientated (not sure where they are).
  • Slurred speech.
  • Feeling very dizzy or faint

Any child under 5 who:

  • Is not feeding.
  • Is vomiting repeatedly.
  • Hasn't had a wee or wet nappy for 12 hours.

If your child does have sepsis they may also have other symptoms of infection such as a flu-like illness (cough, fever, muscle aches and joint pains) or diarrhoea and vomiting.



Sepsis (Blood Infection) in Under 5's