Pneumonia is an infection that attacks the lungs causing difficulty in breathing for an infected person. The infection can spread through certain types of virus, bacteria, or fungi, making it contagious. When a person spreads the germs, causing pneumonia, the recipient can develop a range of respiratory infections, including common cold & flu, to severe pneumonia. However, fungal pneumonia can be contracted through environmental factors, and not from one person to another.
According to the Centre for Disease Control in the US, pneumonia can be life-threatening. These days, any respiratory infections, including pneumonia, can be a matter of concern, as it brings the looming threat of Coronavirus. However, not everyone is at the same risk of developing pneumonia when exposed to the virus and a lot depends on a person’s immunity system.
How does Pneumonia spread?
There are various factors behind the transmission of bacterial or viral germs, including;
- Sneezing and Coughing
- Sharing same cups and utensils
- Touching the same un-clean surfaces
- Not washing hands after attending an infected person or after coughing/sneezing
The topmost risk factor is inhaling the virus through droplets in the air after coming in close contact with the cough or sneeze of a person infected with pneumonia. Children and aged people should maintain distance since they are more prone to such infections.
The virus can also be transmitted through the mouth or eyes, when a person touches a surface that an infected person may have used recently. Also, if the infected person coughs into their hand and then shakes hands with others, it can increase the risk for the second person if they touch eyes, nose, and mouth without washing their hands.
People can be quite unaware of the term Aspiration Pneumonia, which usually affects adults, particularly those who have a chronic disease or suffers from some neurological issues like stroke, CNS disorders, or Parkinson’s disease. In such cases, people can contract the disease when the intestinal tract passes the pneumonia viruses through food particles or other irritants.
Always seek medical attention when you think any symptoms are similar to pneumonia. Contact the doctor when you experience:
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Continuous Chest Pain
- On-going coughing for weeks
- Pain around the ribs
- Fever over 100.4˚F (38˚C) for more than three days
- Symptoms get worse even after OTC medications
Which types of Pneumonia can be contagious?
According to experts at AMRI Hospitals, bacterial and viral pneumonia are most common and contagious, making most people prone to the disease. Pneumococcal bacteria is the most common cause of infection in the spread of Bacterial Pneumonia. Another form of the disease is ‘Walking Pneumonia,’ which is also a form of bacterial infection with mild symptoms similar to common cold, low fever, fatigue, loss of appetite/taste, and shortness of breath.
Viral Pneumonia is the second most common cause of the infection seen in children below the age of five. However, vaccines are administered after a child’s birth to prevent these kinds of viral infections. Flu and common cold are the foremost causes of viral Pneumonia, whereas SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) is a severe condition of pneumonia in adults.
How long is Pneumonia contagious?
Any individual is likely to be contagious with pneumonia for around 7-10 days. Doctors prescribe antibiotics that can decrease the effects of contagion butt, if the duration of illness increases with time or fever returns, one must seek the advice of a doctor.