Monday, September 18, 2023

Can You Catch Pneumonia From Another Person

Get The Necessary Vaccines

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In addition, there are several vaccines that can help protect against some viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia, Cutler says.

These include the following:

  • Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends this vaccine for babies and children younger than two years old and adults age 65 and older.
  • Influenza vaccine. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine every year to protect against the infectious diseases and related health complications, like pneumonia.
  • Hib vaccine. The CDC recommends this vaccine for all children younger than five years old. It protects against the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria that can cause pneumonia and meningitis.

Who Is At A Higher Risk Of Catching Pneumonia

After answering the question can you catch pneumonia?, lets look at who are more likely to develop pneumonia than others. Generally, the elderly and young children below the age of 2 are the most at-risk group for contracting this disease.

Other risk factors for catching pneumonia include:

  • Those with a weak immune system. People suffering from HIV, are on immunosuppressant drugs because of organ transplant, are on steroid drugs, or are taking chemotherapy are at a greater risk of pneumonia.
  • Chronic illnesses. People who have lung conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can catch pneumonia more easily. Those with heart diseases have a special risk for pneumonia as well.
  • Being in a hospital.Patients on a ventilator or in the ICU have a greater than average risk of developing pneumonia.
  • Smokers. Smokers have damaged lungs with ineffective cilia to brush pathogens out of the lungs. This puts them at a greater risk of catching pneumonia.

How Can I Prevent Catching Pneumonia

Because the answer to the question, can you catch pneumonia? is yes, you need to do what you can to prevent the infection from taking hold in your lungs.

There are vaccinesyou can get that will help reduce the risk of catching pneumonia.

  • An annual flu shot can keep you from catching the flu. When you have the flu, your immune system will be weak and you will be at a greater risk of getting bacterial pneumonia.
  • The PCV vaccination or pneumococcal conjugate vaccine can be given to kids under the age of 5 years to prevent childhood pneumonia.
  • The PPSV vaccination is also referred to as the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. It is given to adults who are older than 65 years of age or to people with chronic illnesses that puts them at risk for catching pneumonia. This vaccine lasts about 5 years before you need to be re-vaccinated.

Things that healthy people can do to stave off pneumonia include the following:

  • Take vitamin C, which is protective against infections
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Remain active so that your lungs will be healthy
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Stop smoking and do not use alcohol in excess
  • Cover your mouth and nose whenever you have to cough or sneeze
  • Practice frequent handwashing techniques and use alcohol-based hand wash
  • Stay away from people who are sick with pneumonia, especially if you are at risk yourself

Read Also: How Contagious Is Viral Pneumonia

What Causes Bacterial Pneumonia

Doctors often refer to typical and atypical pneumonias, based on the signs and symptoms of the condition. This can help to predict the type of bacteria causing the pneumonia, the duration of the illness, and the optimal treatment method.

Typical pneumonia comes on very quickly.

  • Typical pneumonia usually results in a high fever and shaking chills.
  • Typical pneumonia usually leads to the production of yellow or brown sputum when coughing.
  • There may be chest pain, which is usually worse with breathing or coughing. The chest also may be sore when it is touched or pressed.
  • Typical pneumonia can cause shortness of breath, especially if the person has any chronic lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema.
  • Because chest pain also can be a sign of other serious medical conditions, do not try to self-diagnose.
  • Older people can have confusion or a change in their mental abilities as a sign of pneumonia or other infection.

Atypical pneumonia has a gradual onset.

  • It is often referred to as “walking pneumonia.”
  • Sometimes it follows another illness in the days to weeks before the pneumonia.
  • The fever is usually lower, and shaking chills are less likely.

When To See A Doctor

Verywell Family: Can You Catch Pneumonia From Someone Else

You should see your GP if:

  • you feel very unwell or your symptoms are severe
  • your symptoms are not improving
  • you feel confused, disorientated or drowsy
  • you have chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • you cough up blood or blood-stained phlegm
  • your skin or lips develop a blue tinge
  • you’re pregnant
  • you’re very overweight and have difficulty breathing
  • you think a child under five has a chest infection
  • you have a weakened immune system
  • you have a long-term health condition
  • you have a cough that has lasted more than 3 weeks

Your GP should be able to diagnose you based on your symptoms and by listening to your chest using a stethoscope .

In some cases, further tests such as a chest X-ray, breathing tests and testing phlegm or blood samples may be necessary.

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What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia

Anyone can experience complications from pneumonia. However, people in high-risk groups are more likely to develop complications, including:

  • Breathing difficulties: Pneumonia can make breathing difficult. Pneumonia plus an existing lung disorder can make breathing even more difficult. Breathing difficulties may require a hospital stay to receive oxygen therapy or breathing and healing assistance with the use of a breathing machine .
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs : Pneumonia can cause a buildup in the fluid between the membranes that line the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity. It is a serious condition that makes breathing difficult. Pleural effusion can be treated by draining excess fluid with a catheter, chest tube or by surgery.
  • Bacteria in the bloodstream : The bacteria that cause pneumonia can leave your lungs and enter your bloodstream, spreading the infection to other organs. This condition is treated with antibiotics.
  • Lung abscess. A lung abscess is a pus-filled cavity in the lung that is caused by a bacterial infection. It can be treated by draining the pus with a long needle or removing it by surgery.

Pneumonia Symptoms And Causes


There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, including bacteria, viruses, airborne irritants, and fungi. When these germs enter the lungs, they can overpower the immune system and invade nearby lung tissues, which are very delicate.

Once infected, the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and fill up with fluid and pus, which causes coughing, fever, chills, and breathing problems.

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How Can You Catch Pneumoniaand Who’s Most At Risk

When pneumonia is caused by either bacteria or viruses, it can spread between people in a variety of ways: being exposed to viral particles through uncovered coughs or sneezes, sharing drinks or utensils with an infected person, or even touching a tissue from or taking care of a person with pneumonia. It’s important to note that these are mainly examples of community-acquired pneumonia, which occurs when someone develops pneumonia in the general community, per the CDC.

Anyone can get pneumonia, according to the ALA, but some people are at a greater risk for having severe pneumonia than others. Those include:

  • People age 65 and over.
  • Children under two years old.
  • People with chronic lung diseases like COPD or cystic fibrosis.
  • People with serious chronic illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, and sickle cell disease.
  • People with a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDs, an organ transplant, chemotherapy, or long-term steroid use.
  • People with difficulty swallowing.
  • Those who had a recent respiratory infection, like a cold, laryngitis, or the flu.
  • People who have been recently hospitalized.
  • Smokers.
  • People who abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, pollutants, or toxic fumes, including secondhand smoke.

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How Will I Know I Have Mrsa

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Most MRSA skin infections first appear as a reddish bump that quickly becomes swollen, painful, and warm and contains or drains pus they can occur almost anywhere on the body. The infected person may also develop a fever. Hospitalized patients may show surgical wound infections, pneumonia, or . However, the definitive way to diagnose MRSA is to have a doctor culture the MRSA bacteria and then show the organisms are resistant to several different antibiotics.

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How Is Pneumonia Treated

How pneumonia is treated depends on the germs that cause it.

  • Bacterial pneumonia: Bacterial pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics. The specific antibiotic choice depends on such factors as your general health, other health conditions you may have, the type of medications you are currently taking , your recent use of antibiotics, any evidence of antibiotic resistance in the local community and your age. Medicines to relieve pain and lower fever may also be helpful. Ask your doctor if you should take a cough suppressant. Its important to be able to cough to clear your lungs.
  • Viral pneumonia: Antibiotics are not used to fight viruses. There are no treatments for most viral causes of pneumonia. However, if the flu virus is thought to be the cause, antiviral drugs might be prescribed, such as oseltamivir , zanamivir , or peramivir , to decrease the length and severity of the illness. Over-the-counter medicines to relieve pain and lower fever are usually recommended. Other medicines and therapies such as breathing treatments and exercises to loosen mucus may be prescribed by your doctor.
  • Fungal pneumonia: Antifungal medication is prescribed if a fungus is the cause of your pneumonia.

When To Seek Medical Care

A physician should be seen if the following symptoms are present: fever and cough after having flu-like symptoms.

A person should go to an ER if these symptoms appear chest pain, shortness of breath, confusion and high fever. If a person has a chronic health problem like diabetes, HIV, or other problems that result in a depressed immune system, he or she should see a physician immediately or go to an ER if even mild pneumonia symptoms develop.

Complications from pneumonia included sepsis, pleural effusion and empyema. Pneumonia can be fatal in up to 30% of severe cases that are managed in the intensive-care setting.

Also Check: Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Your Lungs

Can You Really Catch Pneumonia From Getting Wet

Dont go out in the rainyou might catch pneumonia. Thanks to our parents and grandparents, that all-too-familiar phrase rings through our minds each time we step out into cold, rainy weather. But just as youre about to parrot back that same exact reminder to your kids as they walk out into the rain, you pause for a second and wonder, Can you really catch pneumonia from getting wet? Was this just another old wives tale? How exactly do you catch pneumonia?

When To Seek Medical Care For Your Pneumonia

Verywell Family: Can You Catch Pneumonia From Someone Else

At UPMC Western Maryland, we recommend that any person who has had a cough and a fever after experiencing flu-like symptoms schedule an appointment with their primary care provider as soon as possible or visit a UPMC Western Maryland urgent care center. This is especially important if the cough produces sputum that appears brown, green, or yellow in color. Anyone who experiences shortness of breath, high fever, confusion, or pain after a diagnosis of pneumonia should go to the UPMC Western Maryland Emergency Department immediately for treatment. Those with a depressed immune system or chronic conditions like HIV or diabetes should also seek immediate care.

UPMC Western Maryland wishes you a safe and healthy winter of 2019. If youre concerned about the possibility of pneumonia, we encourage you to speak to your primary care provider about a vaccine to prevent some of its types. Its also important to maintain good personal hygiene standards, avoid people who are already sick with pneumonia, and stay home when you have the disease yourself.

Please note, the information provided throughout this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and video, on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. If you are experiencing relating symptoms, please visit your doctor or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

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Which Types Of Pneumonia Are Contagious

Pneumonia is contagious when it is caused by infectious pathogens, like bacteria or viruses. This is the case with most types of pneumonia, including:

  • Bacterial pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia in adults and is typically caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. Bacterial pneumonia can occur on its own, or as a result of a viral cold or flu. You might also catch bacterial pneumonia during a hospital stay for another illness, because your immune system is already weakened and you are more susceptible.
  • Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus pneumonia is a type of bacterial pneumonia caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Those who work or live in crowded spaces with frequent skin-to-skin contact, like nursing homes, daycare centers or hospitals, are at an increased risk for this type of pneumonia.
  • Viral pneumonia is the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than five years old. Any virus that infects the respiratory tract can cause viral pneumonia, but the flu virus is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute .
  • Walking pneumonia, also known as atypical pneumonia, generally describes a mild case of pneumonia, often caused by a common bacterium known as Mycoplasma pneumonia. This type of pneumonia accounts for about 10% to 40% of pneumonia cases not acquired in hospitals or health care facilities.

What Is The Outlook For Pneumonia

People who are otherwise healthy often recover quickly when given prompt and proper care. However, pneumonia is a serious condition and can be life-threatening if left untreated and especially for those individuals at increased risk for pneumonia.

Even patients who have been successfully treated and have fully recovered may face long-term health issues. Children who have recovered from pneumonia have an increased risk of chronic lung diseases. Adults may experience:

  • General decline in quality of life for months or years

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What Is Pneumonia Again

Just a quick refresher: Pneumonia is an infection that affects one or both lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . Pneumonia causes the air sacscalled alveoliof the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus. That can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like a cough with or without mucus, fever, chills, and trouble breathing.

Pneumonia can be severe, and sometimes even fatal. “Pneumonia can kill you,” David Cutler, MD, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Health. “It used to be one of the leading causes of death in this country and the world. It’s only since the development of antibiotics and vaccines to prevent pneumonia that it’s no longer the case.”

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Signs And Symptoms Of A Chest Infection


The main symptoms of a chest infection can include:

  • coughing up yellow or green phlegm , or coughing up blood
  • breathlessness or rapid and shallow breathing
  • wheezing
  • chest pain or tightness
  • feeling confused and disorientated

You may also experience more general symptoms of an infection, such as a headache, fatigue, sweating, loss of appetite, or joint and muscle pain.

Read Also: How To Cure Pneumonia In Elderly

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Are There Treatments For Covid

Pneumonia may need treatment in a hospital with oxygen, a ventilator to help you breathe, and intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration.

Clinical trials are looking into whether some drugs and treatments used for other conditions might treat severe COVID-19 or related pneumonia, including dexamethasone, a corticosteroid.

The FDA has approved the antiviral remdesivir for treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID. The drug was origininally developed to treat the Ebola virus.

The agency rescinded an emergency use authorization for the anti-malarials chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine amid serious concerns about their safety and how well they worked against the virus.

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Can You Catch Pneumonia More Than Once

Yes. Pneumonia is caused by many different microbes, and so getting it once does not protect you from getting it again. If you get pneumonia more than once you may need to have more investigations to understand why this has happened. It could be due to a problem in your chest or your immune system, and you may be referred to a specialist.

How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person

What Exactly Is Pneumoniaâand How Can You Protect Yourself?

Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.

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