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The Risks of Sepsis Infection at Home and Abroad

This is a post prepared under a contract funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and written on behalf of the Mom It Forward Influencer Network for use in CDC’s Get Ahead of Sepsis educational effort. Opinions on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CDC.

I have an amazing love of world travel and recently spent two weeks in Kenya serving with an education and medical team. As a world traveler, I have a responsibility to protect myself and know the health risks. There is one health risk that affects you and me called sepsis. Today, I’ll tell you about The Risks of Sepsis and Infections at Home and Abroad.

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My team’s job was to bring educational supplies and help with a one-man medical facility run by a pharmacist. The makeshift medical facility that served over 500 tribal people in the area was really a three-room building with very limited medical supplies. A majority of people who visited our makeshift hospital complained of stomach pains, which were typically a result of drinking unclean water. The ailments were treated as best we could with the supplies we’d brought. Many of the people began feeling better within days of us arriving, so we were excited to see sad faces turn to smiles because of what we were doing. Many of the children received a concoction that would clear up stomach viruses and antibiotic that would clear up infections, but there are some infections that require more than an herbal drink and an antibiotic to treat them.

There is a life-threatening condition called sepsis that is caused by infections. It can put my friends in Kenya, you, and me at risk. The Risks of Sepsis Infection at Home and AbroadAnyone can get an infection, not just people in other countries, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis. Because my husband and I travel the world on medical, education, and construction teams, we are especially aware of the warning signs of certain medical emergencies.

Sepsis is a medical emergency whether you’re in the U.S. or overseas.

I remember when my husband got extremely sick one year when we were in Honduras. That year, we were part of a construction and education team. There was one particular toddler who took a liking to my husband and stuck by his side the whole time. A few days after arriving, my husband caught the toddler’s cold after sharing water from the same water bottle. My husband wound up getting the worst cold of his life as a result. Our guide and I kept a close eye on my husband who was so weak and sick. We kept an eye out for symptoms that could have indicated he had more than a common cold. The same precautions should be taken when someone gets an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse.

If you or your loved one suspect sepsis or has an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse, ask your doctor or nurse, “Could this infection be leading to sepsis?”

5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day at workJust like we can use symptoms to identify common illnesses, we can do the same with sepsis. Sepsis symptoms can include one or a combination of the following:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath
  • High heart rate
  • Fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Clammy or sweaty skin

Anyone can get an infection, and almost any infection can lead to sepsis.

While anyone can have an infection lead to sepsis, certain people are at higher risk which include:

  • Adults 65 or older
  • People with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney disease
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Children younger than one

How can you get ahead of sepsis?

    • Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps you can take to prevent infections. Some steps include taking good care of chronic conditions and getting recommended vaccines.
    • Practice good hygiene, such as handwashing, and keeping cuts clean and covered until healed.
    • Know the symptoms of sepsis.
    • ACT FAST. Get medical care IMMEDIATELY if you suspect sepsis or have an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse

Whether at home or traveling abroad now you know the signs. Don’t put yourself at risk by not asking the right questions and knowing the warning signs.

Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you or your loved one suspect sepsis or has an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse, ask your doctor or nurse, “Could this infection be leading to sepsis?”

To learn more about sepsis and how to prevent infections, visit

For more information about antibiotic prescribing and use, visit

41 thoughts on “The Risks of Sepsis Infection at Home and Abroad

  1. I’ve heard how deadly this is. My dad cause of death was by this.

  2. So Sepsis is definitely something I never really knew much about!!! SOunds pretty scary! Best to always know the warning signs when it comes to things like this

  3. Sepsis is such a scary infection, it is scary how quick it can set in. Knowing the warning signs is so important and making sure people have the correct information to prevent this.

  4. This is such an informative and important post. One needs to be aware and prepared for these kind of health hazards, while traveling and even otherwise. Thanks for sharing and creating more awareness.

  5. You are doing an amazing job! I think it’s super important to be aware of different health problems we might dealing with when traveling and at home too.

  6. Thank you for sharing this information! And may our good Lord continue to protect you and your husband as you travel to the different parts of the world to help and reach out to many people.

  7. This is great info especially during this flu season. I have been reading of people dying of sepsis and I wondered if there were any preventative things to do. Thank you!

  8. I’ve just heard about sepsis infection last month. Sounds like a very bad illness and its very important to know the risks.

  9. Sepsis is not something we would take lightly. My college best friend’s brother died of the complications brought about by sepsis. He had gum infection and he kept putting off seeing the dentist. That led to him getting sepsis and his untimely death. Thank you for this reminder. Hope it raises awareness!

  10. I have never heard of Sepsis. So glad I am aware of what it can do now!

  11. Ick, sepsis is no good. Thank you for sharing this info with us!

  12. I had no idea about sepsis until recently. It’s always best to consult a doctor straight away and not to let things linger on.

    1. I agree. I doesn’t make sense to second guess when you ca go get an accurate diagnosis.

  13. My friend’s mom is going through this right now. It is not something to play around about. Also, I LOVE your shirt.

    1. I agree, sepsis should be taken very seriously and knowing the signs helps. BTW, thanks I love this tee too!

    1. Oh goodness! I hope she doing better.

  14. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of sepsis before. This sounds scary. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    1. Since I’ve begun traveling outside do the US more on service based assignments, I’ve become more aware of health risks.

  15. I never think about this I think its something most of us don’t really think about and need to. I love traveling but don’t do it often, this is for sure something that needs to be taken care of quickly.

    1. At the first sign of trouble it’s best to seek medical attention.

  16. It scary that sepsis could be mistaken for a common cold. Glad to know that there’s antibiotic for this virus.

  17. Such a great topic to share on. I have seen many people getting sepsis related to the flu! It is so scary and I am so glad you shared this 🙂

    1. You’re welcome

  18. Thanks for such an informative post! I’d heard of sepsis but didn’t really know anything about it. I’m planning on doing some travelling this year so it’s great to have this info.

    1. Oh wow! Where are you going? I’d love to Africa and Honduras again.

  19. I don’t really know much about sepsis but it sounds like it could be very dangerous. Thanks for listing the warning symptoms and bringing this awareness to us. I think I should educate myself a little more on this topic.

    1. You’re welcome!

  20. Sad that clean water is a luxury for some especially given knowledge of both the necessity of clean water and knowledge of the diseases caused by consuming unclean water. Sepsis can stem from a simple infection so infections shouldn’t be taken lightly. Always seek medical attention.

    1. It breaks my heart to see kids drinking unclean water when I travel.

  21. I know people that have gotten life threatening infections while in the hospital. Happens anywhere at anytime.

    1. You are absolutely right. I’ve heard horror stories of sepsis infection while in the hospital. That’s why knowing the signs is key.

  22. This is such a good reminder for everyone who travels, whether they travel often or every once in a while, we have to make sure we’re aware of our health and practice good hygiene.

    1. Knowing the risks when traveling is all too important. Knowing about the medical care where you travel is important too.

  23. I absolutely love to travel myself and I am trying to always stay on top of what illnesses I need to worry about there! Sepsis can be such a worry anywhere you go. It is definitely something that needs to be taken care of as quickly as possible.

    1. Knowing the signs is the big thing.

  24. This is especially important for people who travel to different places often. We should definitely be aware of the symptoms and most importantly, aware of our health and its current state. I love that you’re raising awareness on this.

    1. I’ve learned so much about vaccinations and things to be on the lookout when traveling.

  25. My mom had sepsis a million times when she was still alive. She had these constant bad infections on her legs, but she was SO bad about getting them taken care of 🙁

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that.

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