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Alert Sepsis in Children Who Can Cause Death

Sepsis, or sometimes called blood poisoning, is a deadly response to the human immune system against infection or injury. Sepsis can affect anyone, but is more likely to attack groups of people who have weak immune systems, one of which is a small child - especially premature babies and newborns.

Alert Sepsis in Children Who Can Cause Death

In the United States, there are more than 42 thousand children who experience severe sepsis each year and 4,400 of them die from it. This figure is recorded to exceed child mortality due to cancer. Sepsis in children in developing countries like Indonesia is even more serious, and takes more lives. For comparison, the sepsis mortality rate in newborns in Indonesia is quite high, namely 12-50% of the total newborn mortality rate.

Here are some more information about sepsis in children who need parents to know

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is generally regarded as a condition consisting of a series of infection-caused disorders - from bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites, or toxic waste from these microorganisms - which have already entered the bloodstream.

Infection is usually caused by bacteria that attack the body. To protect the body from disease, the immune system will fight bacteria in the most problematic parts of the body. However, if your child has sepsis, bacteria from infections and waste toxins can change body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, while preventing body organs from working properly. This then causes widespread and uncontrolled inflammation, and blood clots in small blood vessels. As a result, the child's immune system reacts excessively and attacks the body's organs and tissues.

How can sepsis in children occur?

Any type of infection in the body can trigger sepsis. Sepsis is often associated with lung infections (eg, pneumonia ), urinary tract (for example, kidneys), skin and intestines. Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), E. coli, and several types of Streptococcus (strep) are the most common types of germs that cause sepsis.

In newborns and in the early stages of life, transmission of sepsis is generally obtained from mothers who have streptococcal group B infection (GSB) during pregnancy; the mother has a high fever during labor; the baby is born prematurely; or maternal amniotic fluid breaks more than 24 hours before delivery or premature rupture of the amniotic fluid (before 37 weeks of gestation). In addition, infants can contract sepsis while in the NICU for treatment of certain health conditions; or contracting from an adult who has an infectious infection.

Infants and young children who have certain medical problems may not be able to receive the vaccine at a specified time. This makes children vulnerable to contracting the disease. Many of the infectious diseases in children can cause severe complications, especially German measles (Rubella) , chickenpox, and Haemophilus influenza B (Hib).

In older children, physical activity (from school or play) makes them more prone to blisters and open sores . Even if untreated, even shallow scratches on the knees or elbows, or even from surgical sutures, can be a gateway for bacteria to enter the body and cause infection. In addition, children, like adults, can develop diseases such as urinary tract infections , ear infections, pneumonia, to meningitis and malnutrition. Untreated, these diseases can also cause sepsis.

What are the symptoms of sepsis in children?

Sepsis in a newborn child can produce a variety of symptoms. Often, babies only look "unusual" by the eyes of adults. Sepsis symptoms in newborns and young infants include:

  • Don't eat or have difficulty drinking breast milk (or formula milk), vomiting
  • Fever (more than 38ºC or high rectal temperature); sometimes body temperature is actually low
  • Whining and crying constantly
  • Lacking (not interacting and staying silent)
  • Weak body (looks sluggish and "doesn't contain" when you carry it)
  • Changes in heart rate - slower or faster than usual (initial sepsis symptoms), or very slow from normal (late-stage sepsis, usually followed by shock)
  • Breathe faster or have difficulty breathing
  • The child's moment stops breathing for more than 10 seconds (apnea)
  • Skin discoloration - pale, uneven skin tone and / or blue
  • Arise jaundice (yellowish eyes and skin)
  • Reddish rash
  • The amount of urine is small
  • Bulge or swelling in the crown of the baby

If you see your baby (3-12 months) showing these signs, especially high rectal temperature, changes in mood, looks lethargic, and does not want to eat, immediately take him to the doctor. If the child's whining cannot be relieved, does not want to make eye contact, or is difficult to awaken, immediately take it to the doctor even if the fever is not high.

Sepsis is the result of inflammation of the infection, so the symptoms of sepsis in children can include signs of infection (diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, chills, chills, etc.) and any of the following symptoms: fever (or hypothermia, or seizures ), mood disorders (easily cranky, angry; looks confused, disorientated), breathlessness or difficulty breathing, drowsiness and lethargy (difficult to wake more than usual), rash, appearing "unwell", damp skin or always sweating, rarely urinating or not at all, or the child complaining that his heart is beating fast.

In addition, a child suffering from sepsis may initially begin with another infection, such as cellulitis or pneumonia, which seems to be more spread and/or worse, no better.

What is the impact if the child has sepsis?

Sepsis needs medical treatment as soon as possible. Untreated, the sepsis embodiment can range from blood poisoning accompanied by early signs of blood circulation disorders - including rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath, dilation of blood vessels, and fever (or hypothermia ) - to a very drastic drop in blood pressure, causing failure total organ system and death.

What should be done if the child has sepsis?

Detecting sepsis in children is not easy. Some children who experience blood poisoning become more fussy and lethargic, but sometimes the most obvious symptoms are fever. This is why it is important to bring a child under 3 months to the doctor as soon as possible once you realize that his rectal temperature exceeds 38ºC, even if he does not show any other symptoms.

In general, if the child shows any symptoms of infection (from physical injury or internal disease), take it to the doctor - especially if he feels more "unwell" or the symptoms of the infection will not subside. Your doctor can run laboratory tests to determine the exact diagnosis of your child's complaint.

If sepsis is proven, or just a temporary suspicion, the child can be recommended hospitalization so that the team of doctors can pay attention to the development of the child's infection and provide antibiotic infusions to fight infection - usually the treatment begins even before an official diagnosis. Some medications can be given to relieve your child's signs and symptoms and treat or control other problems. If needed, infants and toddlers may receive intravenous fluids to keep them hydrated, blood pressure medications to keep their hearts working properly, and respirators to help them breathe.

Can I prevent the risk of sepsis in children?

There is no guarantee to prevent all types of sepsis. But some cases can be avoided by preventing the transmission of GBS bacteria from mother to child during childbirth. Pregnant women can undergo simple tests between the 35th and 37th weeks of pregnancy to determine whether they carry the GBS bacteria.

Then, make sure that your child's immunization is complete and always up-to-date, routine immunizations given to infants today include vaccination against several types of pneumococcus bacteria and Haemophilus influenzae type B which can cause sepsis and occult bacteremia (blood infection). Recently introduced pneumoccocal (Prevnar) infections have been reported to reduce the risk of pneumococcal infections by more than 90 percent.

Make sure the child does not touch, pry, or skin the boils or wet sores. Watch every sign of infection. For children with medical devices such as catheters or long-term infusion use, be sure to follow the doctor's instructions for cleaning and disassembling the device.

Finally, make sure that adults and older children who are sick do not kiss , hug, hold, or be near your child's reach. People who handle babies and toddlers must have an up-to-date list of vaccinations. In addition, teach children and other family members to diligently wash their hands. Hand washing with water and soap is the best way to prevent infection.