At least 12,000 people were treated for sepsis in hospitals in Ireland last year, with one in five dying from the life-threatening disease.
However, the HSE said the total number of cases is likely to be much higher.
On World Sepsis Day, the disease kills more people each year than heart attacks, strokes or almost any cancer.
The disease usually begins as a simple infection that results in an “abnormal immune response” that “can overwhelm the patient and impair or destroy the function of any organ in the body.”
dr Michael O’Dwyer, HSE clinical lead for sepsis, said: “The most effective way to reduce deaths from sepsis is through prevention.
“A healthy lifestyle with moderate exercise, good personal hygiene, good sanitation, breastfeeding when possible, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics, and immunization against preventable infections all play a role in preventing sepsis.
“Early detection and then seeking immediate treatment is key to survival. Recognizing sepsis is notoriously difficult and the condition can progress rapidly over hours or sometimes develop slowly over days.”
The most commonly reported symptoms include slurred speech, easy agitation, confusion, “not feeling right”, extreme aches and pains in the joints, and a temperature of 100°F (38°C) and higher.
The skin may appear mottled and blue. A new red rash may appear that is still visible when you press on it with a finger or glass.
In children, it may be present when the skin is unusually cold to the touch, looks mottled, bluish, or pale and the young person is breathing very rapidly, is unusually sleepy and difficult to wake up, has a rash that does not go away on pressure, and has seizures and Cramps.
If a child is under five years old, check if they are not drinking, vomiting repeatedly, and have not had a wet diaper in the past 12 hours.
The advice is that if sepsis develops, “early detection and treatment can dramatically improve your chances of a good recovery”.
Delays in treatment can lead to organ failure or damage, which may be irreversible. It can also affect blood flow and lead to the loss of limbs or extremities such as fingers and toes.
Sepsis can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because the many different symptoms can sometimes be vague or appear like other illnesses such as the flu or pneumonia.
Hospitals have a guide to diagnosing and treating sepsis, with an emphasis on speed.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/world-sepsis-day-12000-irish-people-treated-for-condition-last-year-with-one-in-five-dying-41983696.html World Sepsis Day: 12,000 Irish were treated for illness last year with one in five dying