What is septicaemia?

Septicaemia, sepsis and blood poisoning are all terms which are used to describe an extreme response to an infection. 
It usually happens after there has been another infection within the body and can happen at any time. 

Septicaemia can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and can be potentially life threatening if it is not treated quickly. Early diagnosis is vital and can be treated with antibiotics. 

If your baby or child has been unwell and has any of the following symptoms it’s important to act quickly and call 999 or take them straight to an Emergency Department. 

  • Mottled blue or pale skin
  • Lethargic and difficult to wake up
  • Feel unusually cold to the touch
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Has a pin prick rash which does not fade when touched
  • Has convulsions or fits


If your baby or child has any of the following symptoms, you feel that they are getting worse or you are worried about them then seek urgent medical advice by calling 111 or your GP.

  • High temperature over 38 degrees celsius or low temperature below 36 degrees celsius
  • Difficulty breathing or grunting when they breathe
  • Hasn’t drank fluids for more than 8 hours when they’re awake
  • Hasn’t passed urine within 12 hours
  • Not interested in feeding
  • Lethargic and floppy
  • Irritable and unsettled
  • Continuously crying
  • Soft spot on their head is bulging 
  • Older children may complain of pain and have difficulty putting their chin on their chest and looking down

Always remember that you know your baby better than anyone else, act fast and ask if the symptoms that your baby is experiencing could be sepsis.

Spotting sepsis in under 5's