Today, apparently, is “National Sepsis Day”. I am not a great fan of this modern heathen practice of granting celebrity day status to various nasty things like sepsis, anorexia, HIV, self-injury, tuberculosis, haemophilia and boils on the bum. [Please check that last reference please BB -Ed]
I much prefer to wake each morning to discover that today is a festivity, or at least a solemnity concerned with matters of the World to come.
Sepsis is the commonest process by which we will all get taken down and rendered either dead or else mightily compromised. It used to be called blood-poisoning and septicaemia. It refers to a state where the body is actively waging war against some bolshy micro-organisms that are impudently squatting and multiplying in the body somewhere. A minor infection in the bladder or chest might trigger a full-on response by the body’s immune system. The collateral damage that results leads to multi-organ failure, requiring intensive care if the subject is to survive.
Here’s the really perverse thing about sepsis: The younger and healthier one is, the worse one suffers from it! This was perfectly displayed by the 2009 Flu pandemic. All of the patients worst afflicted by this bug were under 40. The explanation goes like this: The older one gets, the more slouchy and indifferent one’s immune system becomes. Picture a sleepy police station in Shiresville: When the bank vault alarm goes off, they pause to munch a doughnut before scratching and getting off their ass. They then drive slowly to the alleged crime scene. Their fitter and trimmer metropolitan counterparts meanwhile would have already summoned an armed police presence, an SAS battalion, and a few nuclear missiles for good measure.
In both cases, the alarm had been tripped by Tiddles, the bank’s moggie, arising from her nap and inadvertently setting off one of the bank’s infra-red alarms. Two responses, two very different outcomes!
Don’t get me wrong: sepsis is a killer, and the best treatment is based on SPEEDINESS. That is speed in recognition and speed in definitive treatment. I fully support the public campaign to raise awareness about sepsis, in the hope that quicker identification of the problem and quicker referral on to skilled help, will lessen its impact.
Here is a picture of Tiddles, the bank’s cat which I am sure you have all been waiting for: