Sepsis Survivors

Being discharged from the hospital is a good day for most people, but it can also be stressful. Post-sepsis life can have challenges, especially if you have been left with long-term problems related to your illness. Some sepsis survivors recover completely and resume their lives, while others may struggle to cope, something no one expected.

Here you can find information to help you navigate post-sepsis life.

Starting in 2019, Sepsis Alliance added to the awareness efforts by launching Sepsis Survivor Week, which focuses on the survivors and the challenges they may face. Click here to learn more about Sepsis Survivor Week.

FAQ

Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section addresses many questions related to sepsis and life after sepsis. Survivors and their family and friends can find answers to questions, such as can I get sepsis again, why am I so tired, and can sepsis be prevented? You may also find our Life After Sepsis Information Guide helpful in explaining some of the issues that could last long after discharge from the hospital.

KNOW THE SEPSIS FACTS

Many researchers are working to learn more about what causes sepsis, how it affects patients, and life after sepsis. Learn more about the facts and statistics in the Life After Sepsis fact sheet.

AFTER DISCHARGE FROM THE HOSPITAL

Once you have been discharged from the hospital, it may seem that you’ve been left to fend for yourself. Discharge instructions are sometimes rushed or may be incomplete, or you may not think of the questions you need to ask. To help you with the hospital to home or hospital to rehab transition, Sepsis Alliance has put together a checklist with the most common issues that come up. Click here for the list.

We have also created a discharge kit for those being released from the hospital after COVID-19. Download the guide here.

Since sepsis survivors are at risk for repeat infections, you should also speak with your doctor about any vaccinations that you may need to reduce the likelihood of getting another infection. You can learn more at Prevention: Vaccines. Regaining your health after sepsis can also be slow, but good nutrition can help you along the way. Learn more about nutrition after sepsis here.

Sepsis Alliance Connect is a virtual support community designed for the millions of people affected by sepsis. Click here to learn more or to sign up.

LEARNING ABOUT POST-SEPSIS SYNDROME (PSS)

Many people who spend time in an intensive care unit (ICU) develop problems like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who were treated for sepsis may develop not only PTSD, but other problems as well. You can learn more about PSS here and PTSD here.

COPING WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

Your mental health is a vital part of your overall recovery. If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue and you don’t know where to turn, visit our Mental Health Resources page for a list of organizations that may help you.

EXPLAINING POST-SEPSIS ISSUES TO OTHERS

If you are experiencing problems after your discharge, either physical, cognitive, or psychological, you may find it difficult to explain. To help explain post-sepsis issues, Sepsis Alliance has written letters that explain sepsis and PSS to:

CONDITIONS THAT CAN CAUSE SEPSIS

Anyone can develop sepsis, but some people are at higher risk, including sepsis survivors. Learn how sepsis is associated with various conditions, such as diabetes or cancer in our Sepsis and… library.

Updated March 25, 2021.

Video Resources

Faces of Sepsis: Survivor Panel

Presented by sepsis survivors for sepsis survivors, this webinar includes a panel discussion about life after sepsis. Three sepsis survivors will tell their stories and will answer attendee questions about their experiences with sepsis, as well as how they found purpose and returned to life after sepsis.

Septic Shock with Multiple Amputations: A Survivor’s Story

Lorraine Straczynski

Survivor

I had developed sepsis 3 times in my life in 2004, 2014 and 2018. 2004 and 2014 my sepsis advance to septic shock. Both times the sepsis originated from kidney stones. (Sepsis and Kidney Stones, Sepsis and Septic Shock) In 2018 the sepsis was accompanied by pneumonia and it didn’t advance into shock. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) 2004 was the worst of the three episodes. When I got to the hospital I was nearly dead, I fell into a coma and was hospitalized for over a month. It seems that my respiratory system had been affected because it hasn’t been the ... Read Full Story

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Heather Wargo

Survivor, Survivor

It all began on a Sunday. I had gone to the ortho dentist two days prior for dental work, to include the removal of an abscessed root canal. I was a 41 year old, mostly healthy woman and my youngest child was 6 months old and breastfeeding. Saturday evening, I began to feel as though I had picked up the flu or a bad cold… kinda achy, just tired. I didn’t have a fever, but I just felt off. (Sepsis and Dental Health) Sunday I woke up and my lower back was really sore, which I thought was strange, but ... Read Full Story

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Sarah B.

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

I recently had severe sepsis after some pieces of a kidney stone lodged in my ureter following a lithotripsy. (Sepsis and Kidney Stones) It was one of those nightmare situations that rarely ever happens, but it did and it happened to me. I went from doing fine following the procedure to severe sepsis/multiple organ failure in about 36 hours. I had to have an emergency nephrostomy tube placed, and had cardiac complications while I was in the hospital. When I started to recover, my palms peeled and I now have chronic kidney disease at age 34 along with other complications… ... Read Full Story

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Duffy Jennings

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

When I knelt down in a dusty Lake Tahoe campground one day last summer, something as infinitesimal as a speck of gravel punctured the skin on my kneecap, not painful enough for me to notice but just enough let in a virulent bug. (Sepsis and Bacterial Infections) For the next two weeks, that insidious microorganism grew undetected into a rampant infection that damned near killed me. By the time I finally showed up at the hospital, doctors told me, I had a day, maybe two, before septic shock would start shutting down my vital organs one by one until my ... Read Full Story

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Charles B.

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

I woke up on a Monday, December 13th 2021, thinking to myself I really don’t feel well. I checked my throat and my tonsils were inflamed swollen red and hurting. In previous years of my life I’ve had problems with tonsils before, so I took some Advil and proceeded to gargle with warm salt water for next 3 days. On the night of the Dec.15, I started getting pain in my lower right jaw. Not thinking much of that I kept up with the Advil and taking it easy. December 17 I was woken up with a pain leaving my ... Read Full Story

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Help Raise Sepsis Awareness

Many sepsis survivors and loved ones feel the need to help spread sepsis awareness so others don’t go through the same thing. There are many ways you can do this:

Faces of Sepsis

Share your story through our Faces of Sepsis feature. There are more than 1,000 stories from survivors and people who have lost a loved one to sepsis. Sharing your story has three initial benefits. Many survivors and loved ones feel that writing the story down and sharing it allows them to process feelings about their illness and the aftermath. It also helps others, the readers, learn that they aren’t alone.

Too many sepsis survivors think that no one understands what they’ve gone through but when they read these stories, they no longer feel so alone. These stories also show the readers that sepsis can affect anyone – their family, friend, coworker.

Host a talk

Sepsis Alliance has made available a kit called Sepsis 911, Community Education Presentation. A second one focusing on sepsis and aging is also available.

By giving talks to social groups, friends and family, school, even coworkers, you can help educate the people around you about sepsis, what it is, how it happens, and how to reduce your risk of developing it. The kit provides you with material you need for a successful talk, such as a leader’s guide (with script), a video, customizable promotional materials, surveys, and more.

Host an awareness event/fundraiser

Local awareness events are being held across the country, spearheaded by individuals like you. Whether you want to hold a Stomp Out Sepsis or Sips for Sepsis event, or anything in between, these events help raise awareness and raise funds for Sepsis Alliance, to help support the organization’s awareness efforts. Or if you’d rather do an online awareness event, that works too. Check out the host an event page for other ideas and a fundraising toolkit.

Give to Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance is the nation’s leading organization, working in all 50 states, to save lives and reduce suffering by improving sepsis awareness and care. As a non-profit organization, Sepsis Alliance relies on generous gifts from people like you. Many employers match donations to non-profit organizations, so you may want to check if your employer does. Click here to give now.

Buy Sepsis Alliance products

You can find sepsis awareness products in our store. From symptoms cards to lapel pins, these products may introduce the word to someone who has never heard of it, stimulating a conversation about what sepsis is.