Signs and symptoms of sepsis

It’s not always easy to tell if you are developing sepsis. There are lots of possible symptoms. Symptoms can be vague. They can be like symptoms of other conditions, including flu or a chest infection.

Sepsis cannot develop unless you have an infection.

Early signs of sepsis in babies and children under 5

Urgent advice: Contact your GP or your GP out-of-hours urgently if

your baby or child has an infection and has:

  • a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher in babies under 3 months
  • a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius or higher in babies aged 3 to 6 months
  • a temperature below 36 degrees Celsius – check again after 5 minutes to confirm
  • difficulty breathing, breathlessness or you notice their stomach moving in and out as they use their stomach muscles to help them breathe
  • no interest in feeding (in babies)
  • not drank anything for more than 8 hours when awake
  • been vomiting repeatedly
  • blood in their vomit or their vomit is green or black
  • sunken eyes
  • a bulging soft spot on their head
  • no interest in anything, even with encouragement
  • been less responsive, irritable or difficult to console
  • a stiff neck, especially when trying to look up and down
  • been behaving differently than usual to the point that you are worried

If your GP thinks it’s sepsis, they will usually refer your baby or child to hospital for further diagnosis and treatment.