When And How Is Pneumonia Contagious
A person can spread the germs that cause pneumonia when he or she coughs and expels the bacterial or viral infections that caused the disease. The droplets containing the virus or bacteria can land on a common surface, such as a table, telephone, or computer. You could also breathe in the droplets and bring them into your own breathing tract.
The time that a person may pass along pneumonia varies depending on the type and how he or she acquired it. Additionally, some types of pneumonia are much more contagious than others. Two examples of highly contagious strains of this illness are mycoplasma and mycobacterium.
Once a person who has pneumonia starts on antibiotics, he or she only remains contagious for the next 24 to 48 hours. This can be longer for certain types of organisms, including those that cause the disease tuberculosis. In that case, someone can remain contagious for up to two weeks after starting on antibiotics. When someone has viral pneumonia, the contagious period starts to subside when the symptoms do. This is particularly true of fever. Keep in mind that someone who had pneumonia may still cough occasionally for several weeks, even after he or she is no longer contagious.
What To Know About Getting A Flu Shot This Year
He pointed out that many Americans are vitamin D deficient, and while people should talk to their doctor about it, in general it’s not a bad idea to take vitamin D supplements during the colder months.
The dryer air in the winter may be a problem, too. Research has shown that drops in humidity often precede flu outbreaks, according to the National Institutes of Health.
That said, while it’s common to get a runny nose when you’re out in the cold, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting sick.
“It is absolutely true that exposure to cold air makes your nose run, but that’s a normal reaction that our upper airway and the mucosal membranes in our nose have to cold weather,” Singer said. “That’s not the same thing as getting a viral infection. And once you get back into a warm and dry environment, that should go away.”
That’s why it’s even more important that people continue to take precautions, experts say.
“We haven’t seen much flu this year, and I think part of that is that people did a real good job of getting their flu vaccines this year, but I also think people learned a lot about how to keep themselves safe, and hopefully that will continue,” Griffin said.
How Do I Know If I Have Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms may present within 24 hours after infection or come on slowly. Common symptoms of pneumonia sometimes resemble cold- or flu-like symptoms including coughing, fever, and trouble breathing.
The cough itself may be wet or productive, meaning you cough up yellow, green, or even brown mucus from the lungs. Hemoptysis and coughing at night can also occur during a bout of pneumonia.
A high fever, upward of 105 degrees, can be a reaction to the body fighting an infection associated with pneumonia. If youre feverish, you may experience chills, sweating, and shaking.
Difficulty breathing may feel like shortness of breath, or feeling like you cant catch your breath. Chest pains, including sharp or stabbing feelings when coughing or trying to take a deep breath, are common once pneumonia develops. Furthermore, cyanosis may occur, causing your lips, fingertips, or skin to turn blue from a lack of oxygen.
Additional symptoms of pneumonia can include a loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
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What Causes Chest Infections
Most bronchitis cases are caused by viruses, whereas most pneumonia cases are due to bacteria.
These infections are usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This launches tiny droplets of fluid containing the virus or bacteria into the air, where they can be breathed in by others.
The infections can also be spread to others if you cough or sneeze onto your hand, an object or a surface, and someone else shakes your hand or touches those surfaces before touching their mouth or nose.
Certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing serious chest infections, such as:
- babies and very young children
- children with developmental problems
Take Care Of Your General Wellbeing
In winter, its normal to feel more tired, sleep more, put on weight and generally feel low. These are also common symptoms of depression. Its important you take the time to look after your mental health. Try to stay in touch with your friends and family by phone and keep as active as you can.
Its especially important during winter you eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet. Foods and fluids contain essential nutrients to help prevent infections and keep you and your lungs healthy. Read more about eating well for your lungs.
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What Is Fungal Pneumonia
Three types of fungi living in soil are known causes of pneumonia:
- Coccidioides immitis and Coccidiodes posadasii are two related fungi common to the American Southwest. Both can cause coccidioidomycosis, also known as cocci or valley fever.
- Histoplasma capsulatum is found in the central and eastern United States, especially areas around the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, and causes a disease called histoplasmosis.
- Cryptococcus is a fungi found in soil and bird droppings all across the country.
Most people who inhale these fungi don’t get sick, but if your immune system is weak, you may develop pneumonia.
Another fungus, Pneumocystis jirovecii, can generate an infection in premature, malnourished infants, and in people with a weakened immune system, such as those who have HIV or AIDS.
The symptoms of pneumonia that are caused by fungi are often similar to those of other forms of pneumonia, including a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
But because this type of pneumonia usually affects people with weakened immune systems, symptoms tend to develop faster, and people often experience a high fever.
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?
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Is It Cold Flu Or Pneumonia Know When To Get Help
Pneumonia isnt just a disease that happens in advanced age or one affecting those with compromised immune systems it can happen to anyone. This is the same for the flu and the common cold, which can lead to pneumonia if not closely monitored and treated.
In the height of cold and flu season, its important to take precaution by knowing the symptoms of the common cold vs. flu or pneumonia, as well as when and where to seek help if you experience concerning symptoms.
What Are The Common Causes Of Pneumonia For Older Adults
Pneumonia is typically caused by bacteria or viruses. These germs are breathed into your lungs. When your immune system is strong you may be able to quickly fight these germs off.
The elderly may be more likely to have the germs cause an infection in their lungs due to weakened immune systems.
Even if they are usually healthy and fit, they can get pneumonia after you have caught a simple cold or flu. They may even catch pneumonia from being in the hospital.
The causes of pneumonia are broken down into three groups:
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Does Having Pneumonia Make You More Susceptible To A Cold
This article was published more than 10 years ago. Some information may no longer be current.
QUESTION: If you have had pneumonia, do you become more prone to respiratory infections, including the common cold?
ANSWER: Respiratory infections affect two main areas in the body. Infections such as the common cold affect the upper respiratory tract, which includes the nose, sinuses, pharynx and larynx. Infections such as pneumonia affect the lower respiratory tract, primarily involving the lungs.
A healthy individual who gets pneumonia is not necessarily prone to other respiratory infections, including the cold.
Having said that, if an individual has certain underlying health conditions, he or she may be prone to respiratory infections in general. Conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis or immune suppression from chemotherapy, for example, may place people at higher risk.
Influenza is an infection that is usually limited to the upper respiratory tract. However, in severe cases, both the upper and lower respiratory tract can be affected. This is a key concern, and there is ample evidence that influenza may be complicated by secondary bacterial pneumonia.
Samira Mubareka is a physician and virologist at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Part of her research involves the study of the influenza virus and its interactions with bacterial pathogens.
Why Cold Flu And Pneumonia Are More Common In The Winter
Colder weather can truly bring more illness. Its believed to be due to the fact that cold weather leads people to spend more time indoors and in closer quarters with others. So, by this theory, youre exposed to more viruses and/or bacteria when the weather is chilly, which is why the winter months are known as “cold and flu season.”
One thing you can do to help protect yourself is frequent hand-washing. You can also avoid others who are ill and avoid going to work or spending time with others if you are sick, too. But even the best efforts to avoid these germs can still cause you to fall victim when they are all around you.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bacterial Versus Viral Pneumonia In Adults
Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild sometimes called walking pneumonia to severe. How serious your case of pneumonia depends on the particular germ causing pneumonia, your overall health, and your age.
Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:
- High fever
Additional symptoms appearing about a day later include:
- Higher fever
- Shortness of breath
Catch Your Death Of Cold
So please call me, baby Wherever you are It’s too cold to be out walking in the streets We do crazy things when we’re wounded Everyone’s a bit insane I don’t want you catching your death of cold Out walking in the rainTom WaitsThe Heart of Saturday Night
The Common Cold is a very mild diseasenote in healthy people, anyway caused by a number of different viruses that largely have nothing in common other than most of the symptoms they cause. It has been around as long as anyone can remember, but has yet to be stamped out due to the sheer number of “cold” viruses and their different properties. Almost as durable as the disease itself is the myth that it’s directly caused by exposure to cold temperatures, and that’s what this trope is about.
In truth, because the cold can only be caught from other people, you’re far less likely to catch it if you go wandering through the wilderness on a cold night, although prolonged exposure may well weaken your immune system against an infection already acquired. You’d do far better to worry about the much more severe consequences of real exposure, such as hypothermia and frostbite.
The trope, although pretty much a Discredited Trope at this point, is still used faithfully in fiction and media exposure to cold means you are going to ‘catch’ a cold or something worse. Once one has caught cold, if it’s a Gross-Out Show, expect rivers of green mucus, horrible shots of runny noses and hankies and tissues dripping with said mucus.
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What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia
- Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
- If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
- Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
- Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.
If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.
How To Tell If You Have A Cold The Flu Or Coronavirus
“Respiratory viruses tend to spread much faster during the winter months, and a lot of it has to do not with the temperature, but with people being indoors and being in situations that are more conducive to the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease expert for ProHEALTH in New York. “It’s really the close quarters.”
The holidays are a big factor: Griffin said spikes in viruses after Thanksgiving and Christmas are so predictable that doctors create their staffing schedules accordingly. And if they don’t see a spike in flu cases then, they expect one to happen shortly after spring break in March and April, he said.
There may be other reasons people tend to get sicker when it’s cold outside, though.
“We know the ultraviolet of the sun can help kill viruses, but in the winter, the days are shorter, the sun is not as high in the sky, so we have less of that,” Griffin said.
People also tend to get less vitamin D in the winter, which affects immunity.
“We say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t take that much sunlight to get enough vitamin D’ just 15 minutes, completely naked, at the equator,” Griffin said. “Nobody does that! When we go outside, we wear clothes, hats, sunscreen that blocks the ultraviolet that allows us to make vitamin D.”
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The Risks Of Sweaty Hair
Bacteria and fungi thrive in warm, moist environments. Thats why fungal infections are so common within the folds and crevices of your body. Theyre places that tend to accumulate sweat which is, of course, both warm and moist.
If your hair is recurrently wet and warm, such as from sweat in a warmer climate, and it comes into contact with a microorganism, then it is more likely for infection to occur, Dr. Goldman says.
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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Can You Catch A Cold From Getting Cold
Catching a cold from getting cold, or getting wet, sounds like an old wives tale but actually there may be more to it as Dr Saleyha Ahsan reveals.
Research from the Common Cold Research Centre at the University Cardiff in 2005 showed that 13 of the 90 volunteers who had their feet chilled with cold water for 20 minutes caught a cold in the following 4 or 5 days, compared with only 5 of the volunteers who didnt have their feet chilled.
The reason is possibly because the cold causes the blood vessels in our noses to constrict, and reduces our ability to fight infection. We are constantly being exposed to viruses, and so the chilling left the volunteers more vulnerable to this cold onslaught and therefore more likely to develop a cold over the following days. This could also be one of the reasons why colds are more common in the winter. So, to avoid a cold, keep yourself warm. Scarves out!
When To See A Doctor
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 .
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