TikToker reveals the surprisingly subtle warning signs of sepsis – the ‘silent killer’


cancer survivor has revealed the warning signs of ‘silent killer’ sepsis after a near-death experience.

Lauren Wagner, 26, from Canada, went into sepsis, an extreme and deadly reaction to an infection, as a complication of several surgeries to remove a cancerous tumor from her spine. 

She took to TikTok in July to share the warning signs of the ‘life-threatening emergency.’

‘This information is so important, and it might save your life or somebody else’s one day,’ she said. 

Ms Wagner thought she had a bad case of the flu and was the ‘most sick’ she had ever felt. At first, she ignored the symptoms in hopes they would improve over time, but she continued getting worse. 

‘I didn’t know it at the time, but I was actually dealing with sepsis,’ she said.

‘I wish I had seen a video like I’m making right now because I would have gone to the ER a heck of a lot earlier, and that would have been very beneficial to me.’ 

Lauren Wagner, 26 from Canada, took to TikTok to share her near-death experience with sepsis, the body's extreme reaction to infection

Lauren Wagner, 26 from Canada, took to TikTok to share her near-death experience with sepsis, the body’s extreme reaction to infection

Ms Wagner got sepsis as a complication from several surgeries to remove a cancerous tumor from her spine

Ms Wagner got sepsis as a complication from several surgeries to remove a cancerous tumor from her spine

Ms Wagner got sepsis as a complication from several surgeries to remove a cancerous tumor from her spine

Sepsis is a medical emergency that health experts have called a ‘silent killer.’ It’s caused by the body’s extreme reaction to an infection. This happens when the infection triggers a chain reaction throughout the body, leading to tissues and organs shutting down.

Symptoms can closely resemble the flu, so look out for a very high or low temperature, sweating, extreme pain, clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, high heart rate, slurred speech, and confusion.

Sepsis can also progress to septic shock, characterized by a severe drop in blood pressure. Signs of septic shock, according to the Mayo Clinic, include not being able to stand up, strong sleepiness or hard time staying awake, and a major change in mental status. 

If left untreated, sepsis is fatal. 

‘That is why it is so important to seek out treatment early and not wait and just hope for things to get better like I did because the longer you wait, the scarier things get,’ Ms Wagner said.

Sepsis impacts 1.7 million Americans every year, according to the CDC, and kills 350,000 annually.

In the UK, there are about 245,000 cases every year with 48,000 deaths.

 

About one in three patients who die in a hospital had sepsis during that time.  

Infections that lead to sepsis most commonly start in the lungs, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract. 

Certain groups are more susceptible to sepsis, including adults aged 65 and older, children under one year, patients with weakened immune systems, and those who have had sepsis in the past. However, anyone can get it. 

Ms Wagner said about her own experience: ‘The number one symptom that I personally had that led me to go to the ER was just how sick I was feeling. I was feeling the most sick I’ve ever felt.’

‘Every day it was getting worse. It was very scary.’

She now hopes to raise awareness about getting help as early as possible.  

‘I truly believe sepsis is not spoken about enough. It is not taught in schools, and it is so important that we have this information in our back pockets,’ she said. 

‘Any infection in anyone can lead to sepsis at any time.’

‘It is so important that we know what it is and the warning signs to look out for so we can go to the ER sooner and get treated and have a better outcome.’ 

‘I hope this helps just even one person out there.’ 



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