Sepsis Discharge Information

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a serious medical condition that is caused by an infection. The infection is usually due to bacteria, but is sometimes caused by a virus or a fungus. The location of the infection may be anywhere in the body, such as the blood, lungs, skin or urine. The body’s response to the infection is to trigger the immune system, which is the body’s way of fighting infection. Sepsis can cause failure of many body systems, including the lungs, kidneys, heart and circulation.

Sepsis is more common in old people, babies, and people whose immune systems are not working well, but even healthy people can get sick from it. Sepsis is more common in old people, babies, and people whose immune systems are not working well, but even healthy people can get sick from it.

How can I take care of myself when I go home?

How long it takes to get better depends on the cause of sepsis, your treatment, how well you recover, your overall health, and any complications you may have. It is very important to follow your provider’s instructions in order to make a full recovery. The actions you take to care for yourself when you have sepsis may also help prevent future infections and complications.


  • Your provider will give you a list of your medicines when you leave the hospital.
    • Know your medicines. Know what they look like, how much you should take each time, how often you should take them, and why you take each one.
    • Take your medicines exactly as your provider tells you to. Even when the symptoms are gone, it is important to finish the full antibiotic treatment to make sure all bacteria have been killed.
    • Carry a list of your medicines in your wallet or purse. Include any nonprescription medicines and supplements on the list.
  • Your provider may prescribe medicine to:
    • Treat pain
    • Treat the infection
    • Reduce swelling
    • Prevent blood clots
  • If you have wounds or had surgery, to care for your wound:
    • Keep your wound clean.
    • If you are told to change your dressing on your wound, wash your hands before changing the dressing and after disposing of the dressing.
  • If you go home with an IV, keep your IV site clean and dry.


  • Follow your provider’s instructions for follow-up appointments.
  • Keep appointments for any routine testing you may need.
  • Talk with your provider about any questions or fears you have.

Diet, Exercise, and Other Lifestyle Changes

  • Follow the treatment plan your healthcare provider prescribes.
  • Follow activity restrictions, such as not driving or operating machinery, as recommended by your healthcare provider or pharmacist, especially if you are taking pain medicines.
  • Get plenty of rest while you’re recovering. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine light yellow in color, unless you are told to limit fluids.

Call your healthcare provider if you have new or worsening:

  • Fever higher than 101.5° F (38.6° C)
  • Chills or sweats
  • Body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness when you stand up or fainting
  • Confusion
  • Redness, swelling, or drainage of pus from any wounds
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Increased pain at a site of infection or surgery
  • Redness, swelling, or leaking around the area where an IV goes into your skin
Developed by RelayHealth.
Acute Care Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-12-11
Last reviewed: 2014-04-24
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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