Published on September 16, 2020

Tower Health Recognizes Sepsis Awareness Month

Health system educates community on prevention and treatment

West Reading, Pa., September 16, 2020 - Tower Health joins healthcare organizations around the world in recognizing "Sepsis Awareness Month." Sepsis is the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection. For reasons that are not well-understood, sepsis develops when an individual's immune system suddenly stops fighting an infection and instead fuels it. When a person is septic, the body releases immune chemicals into the blood. These chemicals trigger widespread inflammation, which can impair blood flow and lead to tissue damage, organ failure, or death.

Sepsis is preventable and treatable in most cases with early recognition. That's why it's critical to be aware of sepsis and to recognize the symptoms.

While most Americans have heard of sepsis, only 12 percent can identify the most common symptoms. While there is no single symptom of sepsis, signs of sepsis can include 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

"Improving care of patients with sepsis is a priority at each Tower Health hospital," said Debra Powell, MD, Chief, Section of Infectious Diseases and Medical Director for Infection Prevention at Reading Hospital. "Each of our hospitals have a multidisciplinary team committed to the goal of expediting care to patients suspected of having sepsis to achieve the best outcomes for the individual."

Anyone can develop sepsis, but those most at-risk include children younger than one, adults age 65 or older, and individuals with chronic diseases and weakened immune systems. Prevention of sepsis includes following a general hygiene plan, washing your hands, and taking care of any open wounds. If a patient in an emergency room or hospital is suspected of being septic, the hospital will give antibiotics and IV fluids and will conduct tests to determine the condition and best course of treatment.

Take time during Sepsis Awareness Month to educate yourself about the symptoms of severe infection and sepsis. If you think you may be septic alert a medical professional immediately or call 911 and say, "I am concerned about sepsis."

Dr. Powell is available for media interviews.

About Tower Health

Tower Health is a strong, regional, integrated healthcare provider/payer system that offers leading-edge, compassionate healthcare and wellness services to a population of 2.5 million people. With approximately 14,000 team members, Tower Health consists of Reading Hospital in West Reading; Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville; Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia; Jennersville Hospital in West Grove; Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville; Pottstown Hospital in Pottstown; and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, a partnership of Tower Health and Drexel University in Philadelphia. It also includes Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing; Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences in West Reading; home healthcare services provided by Tower Health at Home; and a network of 25 urgent care facilities across the Tower Health service area. Tower Health offers a connected network of 2,200 physicians, specialists, and providers across more than 230 convenient locations. For more information, visit