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  • Denise Panter-Fixsen

Sepsis with Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Matter of Life & Death

Sepsis and septic shock are not all that common with HS, however, given that our abscesses can easily become infected, it is still a possibility and should be taken very seriously.

Sepsis or septic shock (sometimes incorrectly referred to as blood poisoning) is the body’s extreme response to an infection. Sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency and without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

Many who survive are left with life-changing effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, fatigue, organ dysfunction (organs don’t work properly) and/or amputations.


S – Shivering, fever, or very cold

E – Extreme pain or discomfort (“worst ever” or 10/10 pain)

P – Pale or discolored skin

S – Sleepy, difficult to rouse, confused

I – “I feel like I might die”

S – Shortness of breath

If you suspect you or someone you know may have sepsis or are experiencing a combination of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately, or CALL 911 or in the US or 999 in the UK.

Ways to avoid sepsis with HS:

  • Never self lance or use any objects on your abscesses or wounds such as pins, needles, razors, etc.

  • Do not pick or squeeze your abscesses or wounds

  • Do not keep wounds open to the air, keep open wounds clean and covered

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly when caring for your abscesses and open wounds

If you suspect you may have cellulitis please seek medical attention immediately as this can be the first step toward sepsis. Learn more about cellulitis HERE.

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Too Close to Home - Article Dedication to Uncle Dave Hurd

I would like to dedicate this article to a very special man who I have known for over 35 years and considered my family, my uncle Dave. David Hurd passed away unexpectedly 2 days after Christmas from complications from pneumonia, which quickly developed into sepsis.

He was a caring loving husband, father, father-in-law, uncle, brother, and friend. Dave had many friends and anyone who knew him was a better person for it. He touched many lives with his gentle kind spirit and warm smile. He deeply loved his family, the country, hunting and most definitely enjoyed riding free on his Harley.

I have known several others over the years who have passed away from sepsis and septic shock, but when it's somebody this close to you, well let's just say this article was very difficult for me to write. He will be missed by many and will never be forgotten. May you rest in peace.

In this photo Dave is with his wife and best friend Laurie and son Dylan.

Content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment because of something you have read on this website.

Written by Denise Panter-Fixsen

Edited by Brindley Kons


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