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IFCF supports the Sepsis Savvy Campaign as lead partner

The Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has co-developed and co-funded an important new campaign by the Sepsis Trust.

‘Sepsis Savvy’ encourages businesses to raise awareness among their staff of the deadly condition which last year claimed at least 48,000 lives in the UK – more than breast, bowel and prostate cancers combined.


Sepsis occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection. Globally it claims 11 million lives a year, yet with early diagnosis it can often be treated quickly and easily. Unfortunately, sepsis can often be missed as there is no one sign, and symptoms can present differently amongst adults and children. That’s why the charity is encouraging organisations to empower their staff and customers to become sepsis savvy, so they can be alert and understand the importance of asking: ‘could it be sepsis?’

The free Sepsis Savvy resources, including a short educational video (produced pro bono by Birmingham-based Ark Media) and a simple online game, are available by signing up here.

Tarsem Dhaliwal, CEO of Iceland Foods and Trustee of IFCF, said: “When it comes to saving lives from sepsis we know awareness is key. That’s why we’re delighted to have been involved with Sepsis Savvy from the start and, of course, to be one of the first organisations to sign up. The short film and game make it easy for us to educate our colleagues about sepsis and the signs to look out for and, crucially, it’s free and really easy to implement. We’re encouraging other like-minded companies to get involved too – if we all play our part, we can save even more lives.”

Sepsis awareness is more crucial than ever, as the relationship between the COVID-19 and sepsis is closer than first thought. It’s likely that at least 25% of COVID-19 related deaths are caused by sepsis. Also, both sepsis and COVID-19 trigger a disproportionate immune response, as well as sharing symptoms such as fever spikes, breathlessness and muscle pain, so there’s a real risk of people confusing the signs.

Dr. Ron Daniels, CEO and founder of the UK Sepsis Trust said: “There’s a huge lack of awareness about sepsis, which is likely to be worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. To save lives demands both an aware public and switched-on health professionals – symptoms can vary hugely so communication is key. We’re hoping that these resources will help to increase the public’s knowledge about this devastating condition in an engaging way.”

Jason Watkins, actor and UKST ambassador, has been involved in the development of the campaign, and appears in the Sepsis Savvy video, speaking powerfully about the tragic loss of his two-year-old daughter, Maude. Watkins said: “I’d urge, in the strongest terms possible, as many organisations as possible to sign up to Sepsis Savvy. We may well not have lost our darling daughter to sepsis if we’d known more about this condition and what to look out for. But sepsis was not, and still is not, part of our everyday language – and that’s the terrible tragedy and truth. We’re determined to prevent other families going through what we’ve been, and are still, going through. So please, sign up now and protect your colleagues, customers, clients.

What do I need to look out for?

There’s no ‘one sign’ and so it can be difficult to identify. If you, or a loved one, display any of the symptoms – which spell sepsis – listed below or are just really unwell, seek immediate medical advice and ‘Just Ask: “Could it be Sepsis?”’

Symptoms of sepsis in adults:

Slurred speech or confusion

Extreme shivering or muscle pain

Passing no urine in 24 hours

Severe breathlessness

‘I feel like I might die’

Skin that’s mottled, very pale, or slightly blue

The most common symptoms in children are:

Very fast breathing

A seizure or a ‘fit’

Skin that’s mottled, pale or slightly blue

Rash that does not fade when you press it

Very lethargic or difficult to wake

Abnormally cold to touch

The UKST hopes that the Sepsis Savvy campaign will also be adopted by sporting clubs, schools, universities and charities such as those supporting the homeless and other vulnerable communities.

save lives demands both an aware public and switched-on health professionals – symptoms can vary hugely so communication is key. We’re hoping that these resources will help to increase the public’s knowledge about this devastating condition in an engaging way.”


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