Pneumonia is contagious: how not to get infected?

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Pneumonia comes in many forms, from viral to bacterial to the less likely fungal form. Each species causes inflammation in the lungs.

This inflammation occurs when the alveoli in the lungs fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe. In turn, you feel exhausted, unhappy, and have a cough that can take weeks to go away.

As with many other illnesses, the type of pneumonia will determine many factors, including whether your type of pneumonia is contagious. While many people think that pneumonia is not contagious, some of its varieties are.

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Types of pneumonia

Fungal pneumonia

Fungal pneumonia can be challenging. You can get fungal pneumonia by inhaling fungal spores, which are common in the soil and sometimes in bird droppings. Although these fungal spores can quickly cause pneumonia, they can also remain inactive in the body; then one day they turn into pneumonia.

Valley fever is a typical example of fungal pneumonia that can lie dormant. Most people in the southwestern United States will at some point be exposed to the fungal spores that cause valley fever. Some people are exposed and never get sick. Others are exposed and the disease lies dormant for months, years, or even decades. Others will get sick pretty quickly.

Since fungal pneumonia occurs in the environment, it is not considered contagious.

Walking pneumonia

Technically speaking, walking pneumonia is a type of bacterial pneumonia. It comes from the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae .

Walking pneumonia is most common in people under 40 who live and work in crowded areas. Being close is one of the reasons it is so easy for school children to get pedestrian pneumonia.

While no one wants to get pneumonia, if you had to choose one type, you would probably choose walking pneumonia. Although symptoms can vary from person to person, generally, people with walking pneumonia:

  • The main symptoms of a cold
  • Subfebrile temperature
  • Cough

In fact, the symptoms can be so mild that you can still go about your normal daily activities without looking too painful. This is why walking pneumonia can last long before a diagnosis is made.

Bacterial pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and general close contact. These bacteria are spread so easily that they can be passed to another person before the first person develops symptoms. These bacteria can infect anywhere from a small part of one lung to large areas of both lungs.

Depending on the strain of bacteria that causes pneumonia, you can become infected from a few days to several weeks.

One of the most common strains that cause pneumonia is called pneumococcus. Along with pneumonia, these bacteria can cause:

These bacteria can also cause bronchitis , which is different from pneumonia.

Viral pneumonia

Like the common cold, pneumonia can be viral or bacterial. Viral pneumonia can be spread from person to person. One of the best known forms of viral pneumonia is the influenza virus , which spreads easily and causes a wide variety of symptoms.

Viral pneumonia usually heals faster than bacterial or fungal pneumonia and is often less severe. It also accounts for about a third of all pneumonia diagnoses each year.

How do you get pneumonia?

While anyone can get pneumonia, some people are more likely to get sick from germs. Like many other diseases, pneumonia is spread by contact with bacteria or a virus that causes pneumonia.

Coughing and sneezing are the most common ways these germs spread.

You can also get the disease by touching something like a counter or doorknob, sharing cups and utensils, and touching your face without first washing your hands.

Risk groups

Although pneumonia can be contracted at any age, the following groups are more likely to have severe cases:

  • Children under 2 years
  • Adults over 65
  • Immunosuppressed people
  • For people with heart and lung conditions, including asthma
  • People who smoke
  • People with diabetes

Prophylaxis

When it comes to pneumonia, there are several things you can do to reduce the chances of the infection spreading and also to prevent getting pneumonia in the first place. These recommendations are the same as those for preventing influenza.

While many people think that coughing is a sign that you are contagious, this is simply not true. Pneumonia can be contagious 24 hours to two weeks after starting antibiotics. For many people, the cough lasts longer than these two weeks.

Cover your mouth and nose

Although the preferred method of covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing is with a napkin, not everyone can reach the napkins in time when the urge to cough or sneeze arises. If you feel like coughing or sneezing and you don't have a tissue, it's best to cover your mouth or nose with the inside of your elbow.

A cough or sneeze down your elbow will make it less likely that you will leave infection marks on doorknobs, faucets, and other objects you touch.

Wash your hands

Whether you are sick or healthy, washing your hands with soap and water is often beneficial to your health. When you are sick and wash your hands, you reduce the number of germs you can spread. When you are healthy and wash your hands, you reduce the chance of harmful germs entering your body.

Limit contact with others.

One of the best things you can do while recovering from pneumonia is to limit contact with other people. As we learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can cause viral pneumonia, being at least six feet away from other people reduces the amount of viral or bacterial content they are exposed to when breathing or speaking.

Vaccine

There are currently two pneumonia vaccines available in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children under the age of 2, adults over 65, and anyone of any age who is battling certain chronic diseases or has an autoimmune disease receives one of these vaccines.

Vaccines include:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine: Often called Prevnar 13 or PCV13, this vaccine is effective against 13 types of bacterial pneumonia. Currently, the CDC recommends Prevnar 13 for people 2 years and older with certain medical conditions. Also recommended as a four-part series for newborns. They should receive the Prevnar 13 vaccine at 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months of age.
  • Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine – Also known as Pneumovax or PPSV23, this vaccine is effective against 23 different types of bacterial pneumonia. The CDC recommends that all people 65 years of age and older, people 2 to 64 years of age with certain medical conditions, and people who smoke 19 years of age and older should receive the Pneumovax vaccine.

Get the word of drug information

There are two important things to keep in mind when it comes to pneumonia:

  • You can reduce your chances of getting pneumonia by avoiding sick people and practicing good hand hygiene.
  • If you get pneumonia, it is important to take care of yourself. If you experience shortness of breath, shortness of breath, fever, cough, or chest pain, seek immediate medical attention.

Although pneumonia is often easily treated at home, in certain situations, delay in seeking professional help can make it worse or even lead to death.

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