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Treatment and recovery

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.

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)

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:


  • ask your work about changes to your working hours or conditions while you're recovering
  • some gentle, easy exercises to build your strength
  • try some tips to help you sleep better
  • things to help prevent infections
  • get support – the Sepsis Trust offers support for survivors of sepsis, or talk to a GP
  • try to eat little and often if you have a small appetite


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

Visit the Sepsis Trust for: