New campaign to raise awareness of child sepsis

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A national campaign to help parents spot the signs of sepsis has been launched by the health secretary Jeremy Hunt.


Melissa Mead, whose baby son died from sepsis, features in a short film designed to raise awareness of the condition

Mr Hunt has collaborated with the UK Sepsis Trust (UKST) and Public Health England (PHE) to launch the campaign that aims to raise awareness of the condition, which causes 37,000 deaths in England each year.

It forms part of measures by the NHS to tackle sepsis – a blood condition that is triggered by an infection or injury.

Under the campaign millions of leaflets have been distributed to GP surgeries and hospitals across the country urging parents of children from birth to age four to take them to A&E or call 999 if they display symptoms. Warnings on sepsis will also be added to the Personal Child Health Record, known as the ‘red book’, given to parents/carers at a child’s birth.

The signs of sepsis in children are:

  • A mottled, bluish or pale look;
  • lethargic or difficult to wake;
  • Feels abnormally cold to touch ;
  • Breathing very fast;
  • A rash that does not fade when you press it;
  • A fit or convulsion

A short film featuring Melissa Mead, an ambassador for UKST, who lost her baby son William to sepsis two years ago, has also been created for the campaign.

The health secretary said, 'Sepsis is a devastating condition that we need to far get better at spotting across the NHS. By raising awareness and improving clinical practice we will save lives in the fight against this horrible illness. I’d like to thank those who have worked with us to campaign for better awareness of sepsis, including Melissa Mead and other families who have tragically lost children to sepsis.'

Ms Mead said, 'Sepsis is a cruel, ruthless condition which doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone. I hope this campaign reaches as many people as possible, so all parents out there know about sepsis and how serious it can be. The more parents know, the quicker they can act if they suspect their child may be suffering from sepsis – it could be life-saving.

'I will never hear my sweet child say "mummy I love you". I will never know the man that William would have grown to be. So please, it is too late for me to "think sepsis", but it’s not too late for you.'

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