Sepsis Self-Management


Sepsis is a dangerous response to an infection and requires hospitalization for treatment. After you are discharged from the hospital, we want you to be as healthy and safe at home as possible. By carefully following all instructions given to you by your care team, you can help maintain and improve your own health and avoid another hospital stay.


You will likely be sent home with a prescription for antibiotics and possibly other medications. It is very important that you keep an up-to-date list of all your medications along with the dosage and frequency and take them exactly as prescribed.


After discharge from the hospital, your doctor(s) will need to see you again within 7 days to check on your progress and to ensure your prescribed medications are working. He or she may adjust the dosage and/or frequency of your medications based on the results of this follow-up exam, so it is very important that you keep all scheduled appointments. You can easily schedule your appointments online or by calling 216-844-2273.


Be aware of the signs and symptoms that may indicate you have another infection that could lead to sepsis and know when to seek medical help.

GOOD TO GO: Tips to Help you Stay healthy between appointments

Follow these simple steps at home to improve your health and avoid another infection.

  • Follow healthy eating habits and the diet prescribed by your care team. Limit or avoid alcohol.
  • Use all medications exactly as prescribed.
  • Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when soap and water isn’t available.
  • Balance activity with rest, increasing your activity as tolerated.
  • Stop smoking and avoid being around others who smoke. If you are a current smoker, resources to help you quit include:
    • UH pamphlet, “Smoking Cessation: How to Be a Quitter”
    • Tobacco Intervention & Psychosocial Support (TIPS) for patients with active cancer. Call 216-368-5643.
    • The Ohio Smoking Cessation Hotline. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

CAUTION: When to call your doctor

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor’s office immediately. You may need your medications adjusted and/or blood tests. Continue taking your medications as ordered until you see your doctor.

  • Faster than normal heartbeat
  • Breathing is a bit more difficult and faster than usual
  • Fever between 100 and 101.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Experiencing chills, shivering, teeth chattering
  • Inability to get warm
  • Bad cough or cough has changed
  • Problems with urination, for example urinating more often, burning with urination, cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Changes to your wound or IV site
  • General feeling of not being well


If you experience any of the following symptoms, take action NOW. Call your doctor or home health nurse.

  • Temperature below 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit with pale or blue skin or fingernails
  • Fever of 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • No urine output for 5 or more hours
  • Very tired, cannot do usual activities
  • Cough is much worse
  • Feeling sick
  • Wound or IV site is painful, red, smells bad and/or is leaking pus
  • Confusion or not thinking clearly

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

  • Very fast heartbeat
  • Very fast, difficult breathing
  • Others say you’re not making sense when you speak
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