Guest Author - Rann Patterson
They are Different
Because many cancer patients and survivors suffer from weakened immune systems, I want to try to help you to understand both Flu and Sepsis. They are common illnesses, and are easily treatable. Because their symptoms are similar, Sepsis is often overlooked and diagnosed as Flu. It's very important to know the differences.
Influenza - Very Contageous
Sepsis - Not Contageous
Sepsis looks pretty tame, huh? It's not at all.
Since I've had both, let's take a look at what they are and how they behave.
Influenza - a viral infection, according to WHO, CDC and Mayo Clinic all describe as:
...a contageous respiratory (lungs, breathing) infection, usually involving the nose, throat and lungs. It is treated with antiviral medication.
•aches, soreness, malaise (tired)
Sepsis - a bacterial infection of blood, tissue & lymphatics. It is treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, or other such bacterial fighters.
•aches around surgery sites, joints
•extreme fever (rapid increase)
•incoherence (person makes no sense)
•red rash on skin
Now, compare the symptoms of each and see what stands out.
The way I see them is like comparing above-ground transportation to subways. Influenza is more showy or noisy in it's personality, while Sepsis is very quiet. Maybe that's why Sepsis gets overlooked. Problems like this are all the more reason to be as educated as possible on the matter.
The Difference I Noticed
My takeaway is this:
With Sepsis I did not have any problems with my respiratory system- No runny nose, no watery eyes, no congestion or cough.
With the Flu, I never became incoherent. I got tired from blowing my nose and coughing, and the fever made me fatigued, but I was alert in mind.
Because Flu is contageous always cover your mouth when sneezing and coughing. Stay at home until you don't have a fever anymore. Get a vaccine if you think you need one. I choose not to take the vaccine due to my slow lymphatics. Always weigh the benefits with the risks of any medications or preventive measures (especially children, aged, or those who have chronic illness).
Serious But Treatable
Influenza and Sepsis are easily treatable and can yield good results with very basic treatment such as IV fluids and oxygen at the start. Just remember the differences in symptoms, because with Flu a normal person has one to two weeks to recover. With onset of Sepsis symptoms, a person may have one to two hours! The link to a previously published article on Sepsis is below.
Editor's Note: I am not a healthcare professional. This information, in part, is from my own experience. If you think that you might have either one of these illnesses, see your doctor. If you think you have symptoms of Sepsis, call 911 immediately.