Sepsis: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Sepsis is an infection that has spread throughout your body. It is a life-threatening condition and often causes extremely low blood pressure. This can lead to problems with many different organs.

The cause of sepsis is not always clear, but it can happen as part of a long-term or sudden illness. Sometimes even a mild illness can lead to sepsis.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. Choose water or caffeine-free clear liquids until you feel better. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase your fluid intake. You can try rehydration drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet every day.
  • Walking is an easy way to get exercise. Gradually increase the amount you walk every day. Make sure your doctor knows that you are starting an exercise program.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have cool, pale, or clammy skin.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have any new symptoms, such as a cough, pain in one part of your body, or urinary problems.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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