Just before Muppets creator Jim Henson appeared on the Arsenio Hall Show on May 4, 1990, he mentioned that he was tired and had a sore throat. Still feeling ill a week later, Henson consulted a doctor who simply prescribed aspirin. Two days later, Henson had problems breathing and was rushed to the hospital where he deteriorated rapidly. On the morning of May 16, 1990, Henson died of organ failure at the age of 53, the devastating result of sepsis.
One of the leading causes of death around the world, sepsis is when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. Common causes of sepsis include pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and skin infections caused by infected insect and dog bite or scratches.
If caught early, sepsis is treatable. The trouble is, there is no single diagnostic test.
UTMB, along with theTexas Medical Center, is leading an effort to increase clinical and community awareness of sepsis and its symptoms. Some of the signs to watch for include feeling disproportionately ill (for instance, a skin infection that leads to loss of appetite or extreme dizziness) and getting worse rather than better while being treated for an infection.
Sepsis is a life-threatening emergency. Things to look for:
- Fever and shaking chills
- Reduced mental alertness, sometimes with confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low blood pressure
- Altered kidney or liver function
To promote sepsis awareness UTMB is hosting several events on Sept. 13 including:
- Stop Sepsis Poster Contest in the cafeteria
- Interprofessional “Stop Sepsis” Seminar including patient stories: 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. and repeated at 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. in the Levin Hall Main.
- Sepsis Information Booths at 12 campus sites – hospital, clinics and schools from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Participating in Texas Medical Center sepsis booth.
UTMB, as part of the Texas Medical Center, is hosting Sepsis Awareness Day at Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels) on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1:10 p.m. The first 5,000 ticketholders will receive free hand sanitizer spray pumps. Get your tickets today by visiting www.astros.com/tmc. The password is TMC.