We remain in uncertain times regarding Coronavirus (specifically the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the illness CoViD-19). The spread and impact in the UK remain unclear, but the government is concerned and has implemented strict new measures to reduce day-to-day contact with other people to reduce the spread of the infection.

What is my risk following sepsis?

Evidence suggests that, for a period of time following sepsis, some survivors can be more prone to developing further infections, and therefore have an increased risk of readmission with infective complications (including sepsis). These people may be at increased risk of severe illness if they acquire CoViD-19. If, since your illness with sepsis, you have been well and not experienced repeated infections or problems with your immunity then the impact of a CoViD-19 infection is likely to be same the same of the majority of the population – in other words, a relatively mild illness. Here is a link to current Government measures for every citizen to comply with – GOV – Rules for staying at home and away from others.

Some people are defined on medical grounds as being extremely vulnerable and are at very high risk of severe illness from CoVID-19. Further advice for this group and who will fall into this category can be found here – GOV – CoVID-19 Extremely vulnerable group guidance. The NHS in England is aiming to contact these people directly by the 29th March to provide further advice.

Can CoViD-19 cause sepsis?

As with every major public health crisis, misinformation and fear run rampant. The importance of fact-based information is tantamount. To this end, we would like to provide the following answer to the question of whether CoViD-19 can cause sepsis. The answer is a qualified “YES.”

The presently accepted lay definition of sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection injures its own tissues and organs. From information presently available on clinical cases of CoViD-19, it appears that a percentage of CoViD-19 infections can result in such organ failure, meaning that some people develop kidney failure or shock rather than only respiratory failure.

At this time it remains vital to be aware and monitor for any deterioration in your own (or another adult’s) condition. If self-isolating or not, and you (or another adult) develop any of the following symptoms in the context of infection then it is essential to seek urgent medical help:

Slurred speech or confusion

Extreme shivering or muscle pain

Passing no urine (in a day)

Severe breathlessness*

It feels like you’re going to die

Skin mottled or discoloured

*It’s important to note that breathlessness, cough and fever are common findings in people with CoViD-19. We would suggest that at this time you seek help based on severe breathlessness ONLY if you find that you (or another adult) are very short of breath at rest, are breathing very rapidly (more

than one breath every 2 seconds), cannot say more than 2-3 words at a time or notice a bluish discolouration of the lips, fingers or toes.

The UK Sepsis Trust Support Service

During this unprecedented time, we have made the positive and crucial decision to extend our support services to those who have been critically ill in hospital with CoViD-19, and their families. We will, of course, also continue to support those affected by sepsis.

For more information click here.

Please share this with anyone you know who has been critically ill in hospital with CoVID-19, and if you would like to help us support even more people, you can make a donation on our Just Giving Campaign Page

For further information about CoViD-19, including preventative measures, what to do if you suspect you have it and how to maintain your wellbeing please follow these links:


Page last reviewed: 24th March 2020