When To See A Doctor
Pneumonia can develop into a serious respiratory infection that causes unpleasant complications. Usually, using home remedies to treat chest infections at the first signs of a viral or bacterial chest infection help to prevent pneumonia becoming worse.
In some cases, you may need to visit your doctor to get your lung infection symptoms checked out. Dr. Laurence Knott on Patient.info recommends seeing a doctor for pneumonia in the following circumstances:19
- The symptoms of pneumonia get worse despite using home remedies.
- You start to cough up thick phlegm or mucus that is yellow, green, brown, or has streaks of blood.
- You get no relief from a chesty cough after 4 weeks.
- You frequently have bouts of bronchitis or other chest infections.
- You have shortness of breath, dizziness, fast breathing, or chest pains.
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Limit Contact With Others
One of the best things you can do when recovering from pneumonia is to limit your contact with others. As weve learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemicwhich can cause viral pneumoniastaying at least six feet away from others reduces the amount of viral or bacterial content they are exposed to as you breathe or talk.
Is Bacterial Pneumonia Contagious
Whether or not bacterial pneumonia is contagious depends upon the type of bacteria causing the infection. In many cases, people contract pneumonia when bacteria they normally carry in the nose or throat are spread to the lungs. Most kinds of bacterial pneumonia are not highly contagious. However, pneumonia due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae and tuberculosis are exceptions. Both these types of bacterial pneumonia are highly contagious. These are spread among people by breathing in infected droplets that come from coughing or sneezing, similar to the spread of viral infections.
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What Is It And Is It Contagious
Pneumonia is a lower respiratory lung infection that causes inflammation in one or both lungs. Once infected, the lungâs air sacs inflame and fill with fluid and pus. Pneumonia comes in different forms and is caused primarily by bacteria or viruses, and less commonly by fungi and parasites. The type of germ determines who gets pneumonia, how serious the illness can become, and how pneumonia is treated.
It is contagious when the causative pathogens are expelled when an infected person coughs and produces droplets. These expelled droplets contain the bacteria or virus that causes the pneumonia. Bottom line, you donât catch pneumonia. You catch the germs that cause it!
You can catch the germs that cause pneumonia in the most common of places, and the environment you visit on a daily basis may contribute to how susceptible you are to the disease.
For the most part, bacterial pneumonia is much less contagious after antibiotics have been administered for 24-48 hours. For viral pneumonia, the person becomes less contagious after the symptoms have begun to recede, especially the fever. This may occur one or two days after the person is free of fever, but one may still shed some infectious virus for a week or so with some types of viral pneumonia.
Symptoms And Causes Of Walking Pneumonia
Dr. Carol DerSarkissian says that a bacterial infection of the Mycoplasma pneumonia strain of bacteria is usually the cause of walking pneumonia. Usually, the incubation period of walking pneumonia is between 2 and 4 weeks before you start to show symptoms.9
Signs that you have walking pneumonia can be any of the following:
- Flu-like symptoms like fever, sore throat, and headaches
- Fatigue that lasts after your respiratory infection symptoms have gone
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Pneumonia According To The Place Of Acquisition
This distinction, although it may not seem like it, is extremely important. The pathogens that inhabit the urban environment are not the same ones that proliferate in hospital environments, so knowing where pneumonia has been contracted is always one of the first steps in treatment. Next, we break down the typologies in this area.
2.1 Pneumonia in the community
Community acquired pneumonia is a acute infection of the lung parenchyma affecting outpatients. At the diagnostic level, the appearance of fever, respiratory symptoms and the presence of pulmonary infiltrates on the chest radiograph are expected from this clinical picture.
CAP can be typical or atypical . It is one of the most common infections during childhood, affecting 1,000 to 4,000 infants for every 100,000 children of pediatric age per year. In any case, the prognosis is usually positive if treatment is received on time.
2.2 Hospital acquired pneumonia
The variant that is acquired in the hospital environment. Patients who develop this type of pneumonia are susceptible to infection due to chest surgeries, weakened immune systems , prolonged lung diseases, aspiration problems, or being on a respirator.
Why Getting Vaccinated Against Community
You have learned that pneumonia-causing bacteria are everywhere, and it is very difficult to avoid exposure. If you are a young and healthy adult, you dont need to worry about getting pneumonia because your immune system will fight it, and you most likely wont get sick.
The most common bacteria that causes community-acquired pneumonia in adults is called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or simply pneumococcus. There is a highly effective vaccine against pneumococcus. It will help your immune system get ready to fight this bacteria if it enters your body.
It is recommended that you get this vaccine if you are an adult in any of the following categories:
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How Is Pneumonia Spread
It has already been said that the so-called secondary pneumonia is not contagious and is not transmitted by airborne droplets. In this case, how can pathogens enter the respiratory system? First, when fluid from the oropharynx enters the lungs . Second, if the inflamed foci are still outside the lungs and pathogens are already multiplying in the blood. Third, the infection can enter the lungs of affected neighbors.
The development of events is excluded when taking control of any pneumonia:
However, it is presumptuous to speak of total safety for others. Because, as mentioned above, it is very possible to catch the flu or respiratory illnesses that started it all.
When Should Someone Call A Doctor For Pneumonia
Although pneumonia often doesnt result in complications and can be easily treated, there are certain signs that indicate a more serious problem that requires immediate medical attention. Here are some of those signs and symptoms that indicate you should see a doctor for pneumonia:
- Blood or blood-colored mucus in cough
- Aggravated breathing problems
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What Are The Different Types Of Pneumonia
There are more than 30 different known types of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by root cause. The most common types of pneumonia include:
- Bacterial pneumonia: This type is caused by bacteria. It usually occurs when the body is weakened by illness, poor nutrition, or impaired immunity, and the bacteria are able to work their way into the lungs. This type of pneumonia can affect all ages, but people who abuse alcohol, smoke cigarettes, have recently had surgery, have a respiratory disease or viral infection, or have a weakened immune system are at a bigger risk of contracting it.
- Viral pneumonia: This type is caused by viruses such as the flu, and is responsible for about one-third of all pneumonia cases. You may be more likely to get bacterial pneumonia if you have viral pneumonia.
- Mycoplasma pneumonia: This type has different symptoms and physical signs than bacterial and viral pneumonia. It is referred to as atypical pneumonia due to those factors. It is usually caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae affecting the respiratory system. It generally causes mild pneumonia that affects all age groups.
What Is Fungal Pneumonia
Fungal pneumonia is a noncontagious infection in your respiratory tract that is caused by breathing in spores. These spores infect the air sacs in the lungs and cause inflammation which results in symptoms of pneumonia.
According to Dr. Romeo A. Mandanas, a researcher at the Integris Cancer Institute of Oklahoma, fungal pneumonia is a less-common type of community-acquired pneumonia than the viral or bacterial varieties. Fungal pathogens can affect healthy individuals as well as people with compromised immune systems.12
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that valley fever is a type of fungal pneumonia common in the southern states in the U.S. This type of fungal pneumonia is caused by breathing in spores from the soil.13
Some of the symptoms of fungal pneumonia can include:14
- A dry cough that is difficult to get rid of
- Breathlessness, especially after physical exertion
- Chest discomfort
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Is Pneumonia Contagious
Many contagious pneumonias have names, such as bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia, Mycoplasma pneumonia, and MRSA pneumonia, that indicate the type of pathogen infecting the lung. Some pneumonias have names that are not as clear . There are many other descriptive terms, such as community-acquired pneumonia, hospital-acquired pneumonia, and aspiration pneumonia . They are all potentially contagious but not as easily contagious as the flu or COVID-19, for example.
What Is Viral Pneumonia
Various types of viruses can infect the lungs and respiratory tract resulting in viral pneumonia. This type of pneumonia is a common complication of suffering from the influenza virus or the common cold.
According to the journal The Lancet, viral pneumonia is common among children, the elderly, and people with a compromised immune system. Some of the viruses that cause viral infections in the lungs are rhinovirus, bocavirus, or influenza virus. Viral pneumonia is also a type of community-acquired pneumonia and a reason for walking pneumonia.11
Some of the symptoms of viral pneumonia can include:
- A low fever, usually less than 102°F
- A persistent cough that may bring up small amounts of phlegm
- General fatigue
- Aching muscles
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Cover Your Mouth And Nose
While the preferred method for covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is into a tissue, not everyone can get to tissues in time when the urge to cough or sneeze hits. If you have the urge to cough or sneezeand a tissue isnt availablethe next best thing is to cover your mouth or nose with the inside of your elbow.
Coughing or sneezing into your elbow will decrease the chances of your leaving traces of your infection on door handles, faucets, or anything else you touch.
Is Pneumonia Contagious What To Know And How To Protect Yourself
Though pneumonia is often thought of as a single illness, it actually comes in many different forms. While each type can cause the dangerous inflammation in your lungsthe result of an infection that leads to fluid or pus collecting in the lungsthe specific type of pneumonia can determine risk of severity, symptoms, and even treatment options.
Another thing that the specific type of pneumonia can shed light on: whether or not it’s contagious. . To get more information on those typesand what you need to know about how they present and how to avoid themwe tapped some infectious disease experts. Here’s what you need to know about the contagious forms of pneumonia.
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Pneumonia According To The Causative Agent
In this category, we can distinguish each type of pneumonia according to the etiological agent: viruses, bacteria, fungi and other parasites. We dissect the particularities of each one of them.
1.1 Viral pneumonia
Viral infections of the upper respiratory tract are some of the most prevalent diseases in the world. Without going any further, 20 to 50% of the worlds population have the flu at any given time and place. Although these conditions have not traditionally been associated with common symptoms of pneumonia , today it is known that 15 to 54% of community-acquired pneumonia are viral in origin.
1.2 Bacterial pneumonia
In adults, the most common causative agent of pneumonia is bacteria. Undoubtedly, the species most cited in the diagnosis of this clinical picture is Streptococcus pneumoniae, a gram-positive streptococcus, immobile and oval in shape. More than 90 serotypes of S. pneumoniae are known, but 12 are responsible for 80% of invasive pneumococcal infections .
In addition to this pathogen, the genera Staphylococcus, Klebsiella and Legionella can also cause pneumonia-like pictures. Since most cases are associated with a bacterial infection, antibiotics are usually the way to go.
1.3 Fungal pneumonia
1.4 Pneumonia due to other parasites
Are Vaccines Available To Prevent Pneumonia
Yes, there are two types of vaccines specifically approved to prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Similar to a flu shot, these vaccines wont protect against all types of pneumonia, but if you do come down with pneumonia, its less likely to be as severe or potentially life-threatening especially for people who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Bacterial pneumonia: Two pneumonia vaccines, Pneumovax23® and Prevnar13®, protect against the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia.
- Pneumovax23® protects against 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children over 2 years of age who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Prevnar13® protects against 13 types of pneumonia bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children under 2 years of age. Ask your healthcare provider about these vaccines.
If you have children, ask their doctor about other vaccines they should get. Several childhood vaccines help prevent infections caused by the bacteria and viruses that can lead to pneumonia.
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What Increases Your Risk
You are more likely to get pneumonia if you:
- Smoke cigarettes.
- Have another medical condition, especially lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.
- Are younger than 1 year of age or older than 65.
- Have an impaired immune system.
- Drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Recently had a cold or the flu.
You are more likely to have complications of pneumonia and need to go to the hospital if you:
- Are older than 65.
- Have some other illness , or have gone to the hospital for a medical problem within the last 3 months.
- Have had your spleen removed or do not have a working spleen .
- Have an alcohol use problem.
- Have a weak immune system.
- Live in a place where people are close together, such as a college dorm or nursing home.
Pneumonia: Is It Contagious Causes Symptoms And Transmission
Pneumonia is a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of the lungs that can be contagious. If pneumonia is the result of a respiratory infection like the cold or flu virus, then pneumonia is infectious and can easily spread from person to person. Pneumonia can result in a mild to severe cough that may bring up phlegm. Droplets expelled from the mouth may contain contagious germs that can easily be passed on to other people.
Bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia are types of inflammatory lung infections that are contagious.
Although many types of pneumonia are spreadable, not all types of pneumonia are contagious. For example, noncontagious types of pneumonia include fungal pneumonia and aspiration pneumonia. Fungal pathogens can be breathed in from the environment and cause pneumonia but wont be transmissible between persons. Also, certain medical conditions can cause food, saliva, or foreign objects to get stuck in the lungs and cause inflammation with a chesty cough.
In this article, you will learn about contagious pneumonia and what can cause it. You will also find out what you can do to prevent catching pneumonia and when the lung infection is serious enough to see a doctor.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Cough that brings up bloody or rust-colored mucus
- Breathing symptoms that get worse
- Chest pain that gets worse when you cough or breathe in
- Fast or painful breathing
- Night sweats or unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath, shaking chills, or persistent fevers
- Signs of pneumonia and a weak immune system
- Worsening of symptoms after initial improvement
Can I Prevent Pneumonia
The routine vaccinations that most people receive as kids help prevent certain types of pneumonia and other infections. If you have a chronic illness, such as sickle cell disease, you may have received extra vaccinations and disease-preventing antibiotics to help prevent pneumonia and other infections caused by bacteria.
People should get a pneumococcal vaccination if they have diseases that affect their immune system , are 65 years or older, or are in other high-risk groups. Depending on the bugs that are likely to affect them, these people also may get antibiotics to prevent pneumonia, as well as antiviral medicine to prevent or lessen the effects of viral pneumonia.
Doctors recommend that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu shot. That’s because someone with the flu could then come down with pneumonia. Call your doctor’s office or check your local health department to see when these vaccines are available.
Because pneumonia is often caused by germs, a good way to prevent it is to keep your distance from anyone you know who has pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Use separate drinking glasses and eating utensils wash your hands often with warm, soapy water and avoid touching used tissues and paper towels.
You also can stay strong and help avoid some of the illnesses that might lead to pneumonia by eating as healthily as possible, getting a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, and not smoking.
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