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Jodie Fraser of Fraser Allen Estate Management
Jodie Fraser of Fraser Allen Estate Management

AWARD-WINNING ENTREPRENEUR WARNS OF DANGERS OF SEPSIS

South-west entrepreneur, Jodie Fraser, is warning of the dangers of sepsis after she was hours from death when she was diagnosed with the condition and continues to deal with the lingering effects of the condition.

Jodie, 39, contracted a chest infection in late 2022 and was given a short course of antibiotics to resolve it. However, the infection failed to clear and when Jodie returned to her GP at a few months later to ask for more treatment, alarm bells were raised and she was immediately rushed to A&E in a life-threatening condition. She says she is lucky to be alive. 

“The reality is that I was in very serious danger,” says Jodie. “There is a ‘golden hour’ of opportunity with the condition. If you don’t start receiving treatment within that time, your chances of survival plummet to 10% because your vital organs just start to shut down. It’s very frightening and it can happen to anyone.”

Sepsis is a dangerous illness in which the body responds inappropriately to an infection. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, severe lethargy, confusion, a raised temperature, shivering, and muscle pain. The condition can surface quickly and progress rapidly. 

Early treatment is essential for a good chance of survival and to reduce the possibilities of long-term damage. Any infection can lead to sepsis but it’s more likely to arise in those whose immune systems are already weakened, either through an existing condition or illness such as diabetes or cancer, or through a prolonged period of stress and pressure. Jodie says stress was a major contributing factor for her.

“Life is busy anyway with a business to run, a three-year-old daughter and a relative with dementia to care for,” says Jodie, “but for a while before I was ill, there was even greater stress and pressure than usual in both my personal and professional lives and I had become run down and fatigued. I was probably heading for burnout. When the chest infection hit and I was given just three days of antibiotics, I didn’t have the reserves to fight the infection and I think my body just decided to stop.”

Jodie was away from work until January 2023 and, even though she is now back full time, still struggles in terms of energy levels and general feelings of wellness. She now plans her week differently to allow for this and says that, after a busy day, she’ll feel depleted the next day and will need to sleep and rest more than usual. 

Having also previously been able to take regular walks, she has only recently started to be able to resume exercise again. “It’s a different way of life now,” she says, “and I’m also very aware of the additional pressure on those around me because of what’s happened. I have to be careful and really look after myself because otherwise I could become ill again.”

People who have experienced one episode of sepsis are at far higher risk of developing the condition again. Jodie suffered a relapse in March 2023 and was once again hospitalised. Luckily, she was treated quickly but she says the symptoms she experienced second-time around were just as challenging and included feeling extreme pain just from being touched. 

“It’s so important to listen to your body,” says Jodie. “We all keep going sometimes because we have responsibilities and other people relying on us. It’s easy to think you’re strong, that you’ll be ok, and that you can’t take a break because you don’t want to let other people down, but there’s only so much your body can take. If you don’t look after yourself first, then you can’t be useful to anyone else. My day-to-day life has been hugely affected by sepsis and I have no idea how long it will be until I’m back to full health. I want other people to be aware of the dangers so they can avoid being in a similar position or recognise the symptoms if they experience them, so they can get treatment sooner rather than later. I don’t want anyone else to go through this. It’s life changing.”

Around 245,000 cases of sepsis occur in the UK every year. It is a leading cause of death in Britain and cases have been steadily rising over the last ten years, with around 48,000 people dying from the condition annually. Sepsis claims more lives each year that bowel cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer combined. The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that 25% of these deaths could be prevented with earlier diagnosis and treatment. To find out more about sepsis visit https://sepsistrust.org

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy Bath

Scott Media

Scott Media is run by a UK-based journalist with more than 20 years' experience in the media - print, radio and television.

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