What are the Signs of Pneumonia and is it Contagious?

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia refers to an infection of the lungs that is caused by fungi, viruses, parasites, or bacteria. It is mainly characterized by alveoli that are filled with fluid or by inflammation of the alveoli in the lungs. Alveoli refers to microscopic sacs that are found in the lungs and whose role is to absorb oxygen.

Source: khanacademymedicine

Pneumonia is a very serious disease and can sometimes leads to death. It can affect people of all age groups, but is more dangerous for babies, elderly people, as well as people with compromised immune systems.

Types of Pneumonia

There are various different types of pneumonia, including the following:

Bacterial Pneumonia

This type of pneumonia can affect anyone irrespective of age. Sometimes it can develop on its own and can also develop after a serious flu or cold. The main cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Viral Pneumonia

This type of pneumonia is caused by respiratory viruses and is more common in the elderly and young children. It is considered serious compared to other types of pneumonia and only lasts for a short time. However, it can turn serious or even deadly if an individual who has it also gets infected with the flu virus. This can be very dangerous especially for pregnant women and or people with lung or heart conditions.

Mycoplasma Pneumonia

Mycoplasma are the smallest known disease causing organisms known to man. They are not classified as bacteria or viruses, but they share common characteristics with both of them. They usually cause mild cases of pneumonia, especially in the elderly and young adults.

Other types of Pneumonia

There are other several types of pneumonia that affect people with comprised immune systems, including those infected with AIDS. The most common ones include Tuberculosis and PCP (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia). PCP is actually among the first signs of illness in people who have AIDS.

Is Pneumonia Contagious?

All types of pneumonia that are caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria can be contagious. Other types of pneumonia that result from the inhalation of chemicals or toxic substances that affect the lungs are not contagious.

Source: Adamine Guly

Pneumonia can be passed from an infected person to a non-infected person through droplet infection. This comes about when a person who is infected with the virus or bacterium that causes pneumonia happens to cough, thus helping these pathogens to spread in the surrounding air.

  • This means that any person who happens to inhale the pathogens is likely to develop pneumonia within the next few days.

However, the risk of developing pneumonia depends on the strength of the immune system as well as the type of pathogens involved. Some of these pathogens are highly contagious, meaning that people with a compromised immune systems are highly likely to catch the disease.

To sum up: Pneumonia is contagious, but if you have a healthy immune system, it may not effect you.

What Is Walking Pneumonia and is it Contagious?

Walking pneumonia is a type of pneumonia which is less severe than normal pneumonia. To find out more watch the video below.

Source: UT Health Northeast

How long is Pneumonia contagious?

If you are suffering from bacterial pneumonia and have already taken antibiotics, you will stop being contagious after about I to 2 days. On the other hand, if you have been infected with, for instance, pathogens that cause TB, you will require to be treated for a period of at least two weeks before you can be considered as less contagious.

In addition, people who are suffering from viral pneumonia are considered to be less contagious after their symptoms have subsided. However, they will continue experiencing coughs for a few weeks even though they are no longer contagious.

What are the most common symptoms of Pneumonia?

Symptoms of pneumonia can vary from mild to severe. However, this depends on the following factors:

  1. Your age
  2. Type of pneumonia you are suffering from
  3. The state of your health

Source: CVS Health

The most common symptoms include:

  • Cough: Some types of pneumonia may cause you to cough up yellow or greenish mucus, or even bloody mucus in some cases
  • Mild to high fever
  • Headaches
  • Shaking chills
  • Shortness of breath, especially when you are climbing upstairs
  • Stabbing or sharp pains in your chest that tend to worsen when you cough or breathe deeply
  • Confusion: This is more common in elderly people
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Low energy
  • Excessive sweating
  • Clammy skin

The following are some of the symptoms that are unique to bacterial pneumonia:

  • A rise in body temperature (as high as 105 degrees F)
  • Profusely sweating
  • Fast breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Bluish color on your nails and lips due to lack of oxygen in your blood
  • A confused state of mind or becoming delirious.

The following are some of the initial symptoms of viral pneumonia

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Increased breathlessness within the first 12 to 36 hours. In addition, your cough worsens and you start producing small amounts of mucus
  • Likelihood of high fever as well as blueness of the lips.

In some cases, pneumonia may require immediate attention from your doctor, especially when it is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fast or painful breathing
  • Worsening chest pains
  • Coughing up mucus that contains blood
  • Unexplained weight loss or night sweats
  • Worsening symptoms after showing some initial improvement
  • Shortness of breath, persistent fever, or chills

Treatment options for Pneumonia

Source: khanacademymedicine

The treatment option for pneumonia that your doctor will prescribe for you will depend on the type of pneumonia you are suffering from as well as how severe it is.

In most cases, pneumonia is treated at home. Some of the treatment options for pneumonia include:

General treatment

This involves all the medications that have been prescribed for you as well as participating in follow-up care. Your doctor may also order a chest X-ray for you in order to establish whether or not the treatment you have received has been totally effective.

Using antibiotics

Bacterial pneumonia can be treated effectively using antibiotics. The most important thing is to take your antibiotics as directed by your doctor. Never stop taking your medications before completing your treatment. This may cause your pneumonia to come back.

Can one prevent Pneumonia?

It is important to know that if you are suffering from diabetes and asthma, as well as other chronic illness, your risk for pneumonia is quite high.

However, it is possible to protect yourself against pneumonia by getting vaccinated against bacterial pneumonia as well as flu. In addition, quitting smoking is also essential if you want to lower your risk of pneumonia.

If you have any queries or are concerned with your health, or think you have pneumonia always seek advice from a medical professional.


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