Pneumonia is an infection which affects the lower respiratory system or the lungs. It can be present in one or both lung. Since this is an infection, like some other infections, you might ask yourself is it possible to get infected from a person who has it? There are some factors which are important when talking about contagiousness and pneumonia. It is important to discover the origin in order to prevent the infectivity of such.
Is Pneumonia Communicable Disease?
The answer is – it could be. Depending on the cause, it can result in higher infectivity. Whether it is bacteria, viruses or some fungi, it is important to prevent the complications, and by that, also the spreading. In some cases, the pneumonia is caused by some chemicals which can be toxins or other inhaled substances which can cause an inflammation. In these cases, the pneumonia is not contagious if there is no microorganism which can be spread through the air.
How Pneumonia Gets Transmitted?
If the infection is caused by some microorganism, it gets transmitted via droplet through the air when someone sneezes or even talk or breathe. It is more likely to happen when you are less than 1,5 meters apart from the person having the disease. The healthy person inhales the droplets and the pathogens get inside the respiratory system. Not everyone will develop a disease, but only those who have sensitive and weak immune system which can’t deal with intruders. If you are among those people who have weak immune system and some earlier problem with your lungs, you may catch the infection and it will develop into a full disease in a few days.
For How Long Is A Person Contagious When Suffering From Pneumonia?
There are a few things to consider when discussing this topic. It is important to include the cause of pneumonia and the state of the immune system of the one carrying the disease. The bacterial infection is the most contagious one. It is contagious as long as a person does not include antibiotics in their treatment. When they start to intake the drug, the infectivity subsides within 1-2 days after the treatment. If the infection that we are talking about is tuberculosis, the infectivity may take up to 2 weeks after the start of the treatment.
There are a few bacteria which are common, some in adults while some are more frequent among children. It is usually Streptococcus pneumoniae among adults, H. influenzae type b among children. It can be also Chlamydophila pneumonia or Legionella pneumophila. The other one which is often among those who have a weak immune system is Pneumocystis jiroveci.
The common thing in bacterial pneumonia is a high fever which is the most important sign. It can be followed up with weakness, chest pain with heavy breathing and burning sensation in the chest. The person can also have a cough with colored expectoration which is usually yellow or green colour if it’s bacterial infection. Other symptoms that may appear are rapid breathing and shortness of breath and loss of appetite.
Viral pneumonia is common in children and it is not as serious as a bacterial one. It is usually shorter but can increase the risk of superinfection development. This is the bacterial infection which occurs secondary and can be fatal and hard to treat. It is also contagious and can be more infective than the bacterial ones. It has similar symptoms like flu which are a dry cough, headache, fever, muscle pain and sore throat. There is also some serious viral infection which can be worse than bacterial one. It can be flu virus or respiratory syncytial virus. It can be extremely dangerous for people who have a weak immune system or for pregnant women.
Fungal pneumonia usually develops among those people who have weak immune system. The cause of these can be Histoplasma, Cryptococcus or Coccidioides. The symptoms are similar to the ones mentioned above such as shortness of breath, fever, cough, fatigue. The only difference that fungal pneumonia has when compared to the viral or bacterial pneumonia is that the fungal infection is not contagious.
Aspiration pneumonia is not caused by microorganisms and it is not contagious. It can be due to foreign substance inhalation where the object gets into the lower respiratory system and causes inflammation. It needs rapid treatment and can be fatal if it blocks the airway.
When you feel like you have the flu, fatigue, cough, burning chest, higher fever than 102°F /39°C, it is important to immediately contact your doctor for proper treatment. It is most likely that you have developed bacterial pneumonia and it needs urgent antibiotic therapy. There are some people who are at a higher risk of getting it like elderly above 65 and children below 2, people who have weak immune system.
It can be treated at home or at the hospital, depending on the severity. The doctor will usually prescribe a drug, whether it is an antibiotic or some antiviral drug. Prior to treatment, it will be needed to do an X-ray examination which will show which portion of your lungs is affected and how serious the disease is.
You can prevent pneumonia one hundred percent, but there are some ways you can protect yourself. Some of these things include vaccination and hygiene.
Vaccination usually occurs among those people who are at a higher risk of getting pneumonia. Those are, as we mentioned above, elderly, children and pregnant women. In some cases, health professionals may receive the vaccine as well since they are among the sick ones and it is a higher chance of getting the infection.
The good hygiene is important not only due to pneumonia infection but because of prevention of many communicable diseases which can be transferred by hands or respiratory tract. Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, use your own cups, utensils, and other personal stuff.