Sepsis Alliance Survey Reveals Parents Not Armed With the Knowledge to Spot Sepsis in Their Children

Sepsis Alliance announces the findings of a new pediatric survey, conducted by Radius Global Market Research among more than 1,000 parents with a child in the household. The research from June of 2017 identified that three-quarters of parents had heard the word "sepsis," but only 28 percent of parents knew the signs of sepsis in children, a condition that takes more young lives than childhood cancer every day in the U.S.

Sepsis is an extreme response to an infection. It is life-threatening and, without the right treatment, can cause organ failure, amputation and death. More than 75,000 children develop severe sepsis each year across the country, often leaving a lifetime of repercussions. Many of those lives could be saved with improved public awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency, combined with expanded health provider education.

The survey revealed that 41 percent of parents think children can only get sepsis if they are already in the hospital; however, the reality is as many as 92 percent of sepsis cases originate in the community. Sepsis can develop as a result of everyday occurrences, like a scrape on the playground, a mosquito bite that becomes infected, a urinary tract infection, or a simple case of the flu.

"We are extremely heartened to see that more than 75 percent of parents have heard of sepsis, as it's the first step in saving the lives of America's children," said Thomas Heymann, executive director of Sepsis Alliance. "We can now focus on educating parents about the symptoms. It was staggering to also learn that nearly 3 in 4 parents don't know the common signs of sepsis, a medical emergency requiring early detection and rapid response to prevent limb loss and death."

Parents are not equipped with an understanding of how to spot sepsis in children and this need for awareness is the catalyst behind Erin's Campaign for Kids, a Sepsis Alliance initiative that aims to inform and educate parents and medical professionals about sepsis in children. This includes resources like the new Sepsis and Children feature video featuring Niranjan "Tex" Kissoon, MD, FRCP(C), FAAP, FCCM, FACPE, a globally recognized leading expert on sepsis in children. The short feature tells the story of 8-year-old Michael Stolzenberg who developed sepsis from a cut that became infected, ultimately leading to a quadruple amputation of Michael's arms and legs.

Michael's story demonstrates just how life-changing sepsis can be, despite the fact that the survey revealed 42 percent of parents believe there are no long-term effects on children after having sepsis. In reality, surviving sepsis can be very challenging with one in three children experiencing a decline in their cognitive functional status at just 28 days after leaving the hospital. Many others undergo life-altering complications including amputations.

"More than 3 million children around the world die from sepsis every year," said Kissoon. "However, this survey found that only half of parents agree that sepsis is the number one killer of children in the world, showing that awareness is a critical first challenge to addressing this global crisis. We need to continue educating parents and the public about this medical emergency to save the lives of youth around the world."

Source: Sepsis Alliance

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