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Is Pneumonia Contagious or Not?

If someone in your family is suffering from pneumonia, you might want to know if it is contagious. This HealthHearty article will give you detailed information about pneumonia, its causes and symptoms, and also whether pneumonia is infectious.
HealthHearty Staff
Pneumonia is a health condition that occurs when the lungs become inflamed or infected. In the earlier days, there were no medication or drugs for treating pneumonia, in such conditions, deaths due to this disease were very common. However, with the advancement of science, new forms of medication have been introduced that help in curing pneumonia effectively. Yet, even today, pneumonia is viewed as a dangerous health problem as it has been reported that it causes deaths of 60,000 people every year. Though this illness can occur in people of all ages and gender, young children (especially babies) and old people have higher chances of contracting this disease.
Let us understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment forms of pneumonia in the following sections.
Pneumonia is a lung infection caused due to the presence of microorganisms like virus, bacteria, fungus, and parasites. They enter our body when we breath in small droplets that contain these microorganisms. They may cause infection in either one or both the lungs, leading to pneumonia. Though it is the presence of microorganisms that causes the development of this disease, people who have a very weak immune system are more prone to contracting the same. Usually, it is observed that people who are suffering from diseases like heart diseases, lung diseases, etc. have a higher risk of developing pneumonia. Also, people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes can be affected by this disease. Other than this, newborn babies or toddlers whose immune systems are not fully developed are easy victims of pneumonia. Similarly, when a person ages, his immune system becomes weak, and hence, the chances of an older person catching this disease are higher.
The symptoms of pneumonia may not be the same in every person and they depend on the type of pneumonia that the person has. People affected by viral pneumonia may just have cold and fever, and the other symptoms may appear gradually. However, with bacterial pneumonia, the symptoms are very severe from the beginning itself. Here is a list of symptoms that a person will experience when he has pneumonia.
  • Shaking and chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Cough, producing mucus
  • Muscle pain
  • Chest pain
Pneumonia―Contagious or Not
Even though pneumonia cannot spread from person to person, the virus or bacteria causing this disease can. Especially in the case of walking pneumonia. Therefore, the person who inhales the pneumonia-producing microorganisms from the person who has this condition, may develop pneumonia. Though, the kind of symptoms that one develops will depend on the kind of pneumonia that they are suffering from. Most will only suffer from a common cold and fever, rather than developing pneumonia. In other words, it can be said that whether a person can develop pneumonia due to contact with an individual with this disease, will depend on the immunity of the former.

The contagious period of the disease usually lasts for about 10 days.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If a person observes any of the symptoms of pneumonia, the doctor should be consulted immediately as he can conduct a thorough test to determine the exact problem. He may advise certain laboratory tests like bronchoscopy, X-ray, etc. to diagnose the problem. The treatment measures given for pneumonia will depend on the type of pneumonia the person is suffering from. Usually, the drugs given to treat pneumonia include antiviral medications, antibiotics, and sometimes even over-the-counter medication that treat symptoms like fever, cold, and muscle pain.
One must also remember that by taking certain preventive measures, it is possible to keep pneumonia at bay. It is advisable to take pneumonia and flu vaccines to protect oneself from this illness. Other than this, maintaining basic hygiene through simple habits like washing hands, covering the mouth while sneezing, etc. will surely be helpful in preventing the disease.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.