Sepsis in young children - do you know all the signs?

Health professionals in Lancashire are urging parents to make sure they know the signs of sepsis in young children.
Health professionals in Lancashire are urging parents to make sure they know the signs of sepsis in young children.
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A Lancashire father recently saved the life of his four-week-old baby after he noticed a difference in the sound of her cry.

Stu Bonsall from Burnley has been praised for acting quickly after he rushed the youngster to hospital where she was diagnosed with sepsis - a rare and potentially life-threatening complication that can arise as the result of an infection.

After being put into a coma by doctors Megan went on to make a complete recovery and returned home a week later.

Now health professionals in Lancashire are urging parents to make sure they know the signs of sepsis in young children.

Although a rare condition, without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death. Make sure you know all the signs listed below.

Go straight to A&E or call 999 if your child

- 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

Get medical advice urgently from NHS 111

If your child has any of the symptoms listed below, is getting worse or is sicker than you'd expect (even if their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111.

Temperature

- temperature over 38C in babies under three months

- temperature over 39C in babies aged three to six months

- any high temperature in a child who cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything

- low temperature (below 36C – check three times in a 10-minute period)

Breathing

- finding it much harder to breathe than normal – looks like hard work

- making "grunting" noises with every breath

- can't say more than a few words at once (for older children who normally talk)

- breathing that obviously "pauses"

Toilet/nappies

- not had a wee or wet nappy for 12 hours

Eating and drinking

- new baby under one month old with no interest in feeding

- not drinking for more than eight hours (when awake)

- bile-stained (green), bloody or black vomit/sick

Activity and body

- soft spot on a baby's head is bulging

- eyes look "sunken"

- child cannot be encouraged to show interest in anything

- baby is floppy

- weak, "whining" or continuous crying in a younger child

- older child who's confused

- not responding or very irritable

- stiff neck, especially when trying to look up and down

If your child has any of these symptoms, is getting worse or is sicker than you'd expect (even if their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111.