Fylde Coast residents are being asked to check the colour of their urine in a drive to reduce the cases of sepsis as a result of urinary tract infections.

Health organisations are working hard to tackle sepsis, also known as blood poisoning. People staying in hospital are regularly tested for signs of sepsis in an attempt to reduce hospital acquired infections and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has already seen in-hospital cases reduced by half.

Attention is now turning to people who do not often see a health professional. People living alone often fall victim to sepsis as a result of contracting a urinary tract infection (UTI). The infection can become more severe and lead to more severe infections such as E.coli and sepsis.

In 2018 there were 143 cases of E.coli on the Fylde Coast. Of these 123 were related to UTIs and of those 101 (88 per cent of all cases) were in patients who were in their own homes and not engaged with health services.

Dr Ben Butler-Reid, clinical director of the two Fylde Coast clinical commissioning groups, said: “Most times a UTI will take care of itself and is absolutely nothing to worry about. More serious UTIs can easily be treated with antibiotics, but if they go unchecked they can develop into sepsis and that can be very serious and life-threatening.

“The simplest way to prevent a UTI, particularly for elderly people, is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids, around two to three litres throughout the day, is very important. Drinking tea and coffee counts in that too. You can tell if you are dehydrated by looking at your urine – if it is the colour of strong tea then you need to drink more. Basically, the darker your urine is the more at risk of a UTI you are.

“The symptoms of a UTI are easy to spot. If you or a friend or relative is experiencing any of these they should seek an appointment with their GP practice. Things to look out for are: stinging when going to the toilet; a high fever; pains in the lower stomach area; pain in the back (just below the rib area); sweating; and in some cases patients can become confused.”

If you are unsure if you or someone you care for needs medical help you can call NHS 111 or go to 111.nhs.uk.