A joint campaign to raise awareness about the “devastating” condition sepsis will return for the first time since before the pandemic in a joint partnership between the Scottish Government and a charity.
More than 4000 people die from sepsis every year in Scotland and the condition can kill a previously healthy adult or child in hours.
It occurs when the body’s response to an infection spirals rapidly out of control, injuring its own tissues and organs, which can result in multiple organ failure and death.
The partnership between Sepsis Research FEAT and the Scottish Government aims to increase public awareness of sepsis and how to recognise symptoms of the disease.
The five key symptoms which will be highlighted in the campaign are confusion, not passing as much urine as normal, very high or low temperature, uncontrolled shivering and cold or blotchy arms and legs.
Colin Graham, chief operating officer at Sepsis Research FEAT, said: “This year will see our largest campaign yet and we are very much looking forward to sharing it with the public this August.
“Analysis from our last partnership with the Scottish Government showed that campaign activity was increasing awareness of sepsis in Scotland but that continued work was required so more people could identify the five key symptoms.
“Expanding our joint campaign this year to include commercial broadcast channels will ensure that we reach a greater number of people and better educate them about the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
“It is a devastating condition that can kill a previously healthy adult or child in hours.
“The more people across the country who are able to spot the key symptoms of sepsis in themselves and others, the more lives will be saved.”
Sepsis survivor Kimberley Bradley, who lost her toes after contracting sepsis in April 2019, urged people to tell others if they feel unwell.
The mother felt cold and shivery after a family walk and after her condition got worse during the night her husband called an ambulance and she was placed in an induced coma, having contracted meningococcal septicaemia which had developed into sepsis.
She said: “I was shocked at how fast things happened and hearing how close I came to dying.”
The 41-year-old, from Edinburgh, added: “Trust your own instincts and if you are feeling ill, be sure that you let someone know.
“If my husband hadn’t checked on me through the night, I wouldn’t have survived until the morning.”
Sepsis Research FEAT previously worked with the Scottish Government on awareness campaigns in 2018 and 2019, which the charity said reached more than 1.3 million people across Scotland.
Planned joint campaigns for 2020 and 2021 were paused because of the Covid-19 pandemic, though Sepsis Research FEAT continued its awareness-raising work independently.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government is continuing to work with Sepsis Research FEAT to raise public awareness of the symptoms and dangers of sepsis.
“Patient safety remains key to delivering safe and effective care to all patients every time they access healthcare services and the Scottish Government’s Scottish Patient Safety Programme continues to make progress in its action on sepsis.
“Focusing on early identification is critical and treatment within one hour of recognition has led to mortality rates among those identified at this stage falling by 21% since 2012.
“Sepsis Research FEAT play a vital role in funding research into this devastating disease and in making the public aware of the symptoms, and the Scottish Government is supporting them in their efforts.”