The annual awareness survey, conducted by YouGov Plc. in 2023, weighs results across the U.S. census for age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, and income. In 2003, the first sepsis awareness survey found 19% of U.S. adults were aware of the term sepsis. As Sepsis Alliance has expanded efforts to educate healthcare professionals, the general public, policymakers, and the media on sepsis, awareness levels have risen, with a peak of 71% awareness in 2020.
Sepsis Alliance has become increasingly aware of disparities in healthcare based on socioeconomic status, race, and other factors. The survey found that those who identify as white are significantly more likely to be aware of the term sepsis (73%) than those who identify as Black (40%) and those who identify as Hispanic (41%), though Black and “other nonwhite” individuals have nearly twice the incidence of sepsis as white individuals. Of those aware of the term sepsis, there was also a significant difference in recognition of the four more common signs and symptoms of sepsis with 26% of those who identify as white recognizing all four, and only 16% of those who identify as Black and 11% of those who identify as Hispanic recognizing temperature, infection, mental decline, and extremely ill as the four more common signs and symptoms of sepsis.
Differences in sepsis awareness levels also vary significantly by self-reported sex, age, income, and education. Those who identify as women are more likely (67%) than those who identify as men (58%) to know the term sepsis. Additionally, those 55 and older are significantly more likely (69%) to recognize the term sepsis than those that are 18 – 34 years old (52%). These differences remain steady year-over-year, with 2022 seeing similar differences. Finally, those with a high school education or less (48%) and those who have an annual household income of less than $40,000 are significantly less likely to know the term sepsis (53%).
The pattern of stalled sepsis awareness levels in U.S. adults over the past three years demonstrates the desperate need for additional education and action. A National Sepsis Action Plan with a focus on reaching medically underserved communities has the potential to save thousands of lives from sepsis each year. As an example, the 2012-2018 TIPS® education campaign featuring “real people from many different backgrounds living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure,” is estimated to have helped one million people successfully quit smoking. A National Sepsis Action Plan, supported by government agencies, media, and multiple partners, could help make the signs and symptoms of sepsis well known. Knowing the signs and symptoms of sepsis, seeking emergency care, and reaching healthcare professionals with the knowledge to quickly recognize and treat sepsis can save lives – and Sepsis Alliance needs help to make this a reality.
How you can help raise awareness:
- Share your sepsis experience with local media this Sepsis Awareness Month. Find contact information for your local paper and news stations and contact them using information from Sepsis Alliance’s media kit and your own story of survival or loss. Your experience can help others learn the signs, symptoms, and seriousness of sepsis.
- Share sepsis information on social media. Follow Sepsis Alliance on Facebook,‥Twitter,‥Instagram, and‥LinkedIn‥at @SepsisAlliance and re-share information, to help your network better understand sepsis.
- Visit Sepsis.org. You can learn more about sepsis, Sepsis Alliance, and how to raise further awareness at Sepsis.org.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,512 US adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 7th June 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).
About Sepsis Alliance:
Sepsis Alliance, the first and leading sepsis organization in the U.S., seeks to save lives and reduce suffering by improving sepsis awareness and care. More than 1.7 million people are diagnosed with sepsis each year in the U.S. with more than 350,000 adults dying and over 50% of survivors experiencing post-sepsis syndrome and other lingering effects, including amputations. At Sepsis Alliance’s founding in 2003, only 19% of U.S. adults were aware of the term “sepsis.” After over ten years of educational efforts for the general public and healthcare professionals through Sepsis.org,
Sepsis Alliance Institute, and Sepsis Alliance Voices, awareness is at 66%. Over 30,000 healthcare professionals across the country have attended sepsis webinars and courses to elevate their practice. Sepsis Alliance is the convener of Sepsis Innovation Collaborative, a multi-stakeholder public/private collaborative dedicated to innovations in sepsis diagnosis and management. Sepsis Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and a GuideStar Platinum Rated charity. For more information, please visit www.sepsis.org and connect with Sepsis Alliance on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn at @SepsisAlliance
SOURCE Sepsis Alliance