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The JPS Podcast: In a Word: Sepsis

Jessica Aguillar, Sepsis, JPS Podcast

Season 5: Episode 4 Show Notes

The word "Sepsis" can cause confusion and fear for many. However, these feelings can be calmed by educating our community and exposing individuals to the word's true meaning.

Tatiyana Giddings met with Jessica Aguilar, RN, Clinical Coordinator, Sepsis, and Joe Lawson, Clinical RN, Sepsis, to discuss the importance of sepsis education, understanding septic shock, and what sepsis can look like in an individual. If this conversation on understanding sepsis speaks to you, speak to us:

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is the body's response to a bacterial infection. It can develop when an individual has a pre-existing infection and the body reacts excessively. Sepsis develops over time, and as the condition remains untreated, the symptoms and impact on the body worsen.

Jessica Aguillar, Sepsis, JPS Podcast
Jessica Aguillar, Sepsis, JPS Podcast

How is sepsis diagnosed?

SIRS (Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome)

There are four different SIRS criteria for identifying sepsis in patients. A laboratory test is conducted to determine a patient's heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, and white blood cell count. The abnormality of these factors is considered when making a sepsis diagnosis. Specifically, patients with an infection and at least two SIRS criteria are considered septic.


TIME is an acronym that aids patients and families in the self-awareness of sepsis symptoms. The awareness of these symptoms allows patients to take early action.

Temperature (fever, chills)

Infection (pre-existing infection, open wounds)

Mental State (grogginess, confusion)

Extremely Ill (severe pain, discomfort)

What is septic shock?

Septic shock is the body's inability to continue compensating. As sepsis progresses, the toll on the body becomes increasingly more aggressive. Once the body can no longer withstand the effects of sepsis, it enters the state known as "septic shock." Septic shock can cause the restriction of oxygen to vital organs, leading to the inability to perfuse them. This causes the organs to begin failing.

How is sepsis treated?

Giving the body fluids is an essential part of treating sepsis. As one's body undergoes the effects of sepsis, many fluids are lost. However, the most important treatment for sepsis is antibiotic therapy. Receiving antibiotics promptly is crucial to a patient's recovery from sepsis. Every hour spent without antibiotic treatment increases the mortality rate of sepsis by 8 percent, so acting with urgency is vital.

Recovering from sepsis

Those who have sepsis enter Post-Sepsis Syndrome the second they get home to recover. This syndrome can last an extensive amount of time, averaging about eight years. Physically, recovery from sepsis can cause lasting fatigue, sleep disturbance, respiratory issues, and other symptoms that one may have experienced actively in sepsis. Post-sepsis syndrome also refers to the emotional and mental toll on one's body as they recover from sepsis. Many manifestations caused by sepsis can last long after physical recovery.

What our experts recommend

  • Wash your hands
  • Brush your teeth
  • Get a Primary Care Physician
  • Always take the entire course of antibiotics
  • Be mindful of how wounds are healing

The JPS Podcast Credits

The JPS Podcast is hosted by: Tatiyana Giddings

Executive Producer: Jessica Virnoche

Producers: Brian Maschino, Tatiyana Giddings, and Gaspar Hinojosa

Audio Mixing and Recording: Gaspar Hinojosa

Editing: Brian Maschino