Is Pneumonia Contagious?

Is Pneumonia contagious? With approximately 10 million Americans acquiring pneumonia annually, we have to wonder, is it? Pneumonia is a serious health problem that affects the lungs and has multiple causes. To understand, you must understand its source. Various types of organisms cause the infection, such as viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. Pneumonia itself is not contagious, but rather the germs associated with it.

If multiple strains of these organisms come in contact with your lungs, they can lead to an infection. Once these pesky organisms get into the lungs, it causes inflammation within the alveoli leading fluid to build up in the lungs.

Types of Pneumonia

There are three major types and each with its set of symptoms.

  • Viral

    Affects infants more than anybody and can take approximately three weeks to cure.

  • Bacterial

    Is the most common cause. The symptoms include; fever, chills, shortness of breath and exhaustion.

  • Walking

    Is a mild form of bacterial pneumonia symptoms are the same as bacterial, but can also include a dry cough, diarrhea, and a low-grade fever.

How Is Pneumonia Spread?

When your immune system is down, you are more susceptible. Those in hospitals and with chronic infections tend to get it more than others. Pneumonia spreads through droplets of saliva which is spread primarily through coughing and sneezing. Those droplets of saliva contain the bacteria or virus causing the infection. While some forms of pneumonia are more contagious than others, there is a brief window in which it is contagious. The source of bacteria plays a significant role in how infectious pneumonia is and how long the disease is contagious.

Protect Yourself!

Although pneumonia is contagious, there are ways to prevent it.

  1. Vaccinations

    Pneumonia vaccines and flu vaccines can help protect you against the virus. Sometimes the flu is a precursor to pneumonia. When you have a flu vaccine, you not only prevent the flu, but you lower your risk of acquiring pneumonia.

  2. Hand Washing

    Bacteria is everywhere! Not washing your hands, can spread the bacteria. Wash your hands!

  3. Quit Smoking

    Smoking puts you at high risk – by making it hard for the lungs to clear infections.

Pneumonia is not a disease that anyone desires to get, but if you notice these symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Practice good health habits to protect yourself and others from acquiring the infection.