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Treatment and recovery - Sepsis

Treatment for sepsis

Sepsis needs treatment in hospital straight away because it can get worse quickly.

You should get antibiotics within 1 hour of arriving at hospital.

If sepsis is not treated early, it can turn into septic shock and cause your organs to fail. This is life threatening.

You may need other tests or treatments depending on your symptoms, including:

  • treatment in an intensive care unit
  • a machine to help you breathe (ventilator)
  • surgery to remove areas of infection

You may need to stay in hospital for several weeks.

Recovering from sepsis

Most people make a full recovery from sepsis. But it can take time.

You might continue to have physical and emotional symptoms. These can last for months, or even years, after you had sepsis.

These long-term effects are sometimes called post-sepsis syndrome, and can include:

  • feeling very tired and weak, and difficulty sleeping
  • lack of appetite
  • getting ill more often
  • changes in your mood, or anxiety or depression
  • nightmares or flashbacks
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Treatment for post-sepsis syndrome

Most symptoms of post-sepsis syndrome should get better on their own. But it can take time.

There are things you can do to help with some long-term effects, such as:



  • do not try to rush your recovery – give yourself time

Visit the Sepsis Trust for:

Non-urgent advice: See a GP about:

  • treatment for physical side effects
  • treatment and support for emotional symptoms

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: how to contact a GP

It's still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

Find out about using the NHS during COVID-19

Page last reviewed: 18 July 2019
Next review due: 18 July 2022