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Risk Factors

What are the risk factors for sepsis? The obvious risk factor is an infection. Any infection, from the tiniest source (a bug bite, a hangnail, etc.) to the more severe (pneumonia, meningitis, and more), can trigger sepsis, which can lead to severe sepsis and septic shock. The infection can be bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic. But some people do have a higher risk of developing infections and sepsis than others.

learn about sepsis risk factors

Those at the highest risk of developing sepsis include the very young and the very old (infants and seniors), as well as people with chronic or serious illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer, and those who have an impaired immune system.

Sepsis and…

To learn more about the different conditions that can be associated with sepsis risk factors, visit our Sepsis and… section of the site. There you will find  more than 60 topics related to sepsis, including:


You can also learn about prevention of infections in our Sepsis and Prevention section. Here, you can learn about the various ways you can work on keeping you and your family as safe as possible from infections.

Sepsis cannot always be prevented, but by knowing the risks, you  help reduce your chances of developing sepsis. You can also say the words “I’m concerned about sepsis because I have….” to healthcare professionals. Saying these words can make the difference between quick identification and waiting.


Do you know the signs and symptoms of sepsis? The TIME(tm) memory aid may help you remember the most important signs:

T is for temperature that is higher or lower than usual.

I is for signs of infections or any reason to believe you may have one.

M is for mental status – has it changed?

E is for extreme illness or pain.