Treatment and recovery
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.
ask your work about changes to your working hours or conditions while you're recovering
do some gentle, easy exercises to build your strength
get regular sleep
try to prevent infections – for example, by washing your hands regularly
try to eat little and often if you have a small appetite
do not try to rush your recovery – give yourself time
Non-urgent advice: See a GP about:
- treatment for physical side effects
- treatment and support for emotional symptoms
Find out more:
Page last reviewed: 5 September 2022
Next review due: 5 September 2025