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If I Have Pneumonia Am I Contagious

Treatment And Medication Options For Pneumonia

Dr. Jeff Bennett – Is Pneumonia Contagious

A lot of treatment aspects, as well as outcome, depend on the person, as well as the type of pneumonia they have, says Dr. Barron. Sometimes youll be fine just resting, but if you have things like trouble breathing, you should get to a doctor right away.

Your doctor will outline a plan thats specific to you, considering the type of pneumonia you have, the severity of the condition, your age, and your overall health. From there, youll know whether you can be treated at home or need to go to the hospital, and whether you require antibiotics.

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Key Points About Pneumonia

  • Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

  • There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.

  • A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.

  • Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.

  • Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.

  • Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.

Pneumonia Treatments And Covid

According to the World Health Organization , bacterial pneumonia should be treated with antibiotics, which are usually prescribed at a health center.

If your symptoms are severe, it is important that you call your healthcare provideror seek immediate helpto get the proper treatment. Severe symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bluish color in your lips or fingertips
  • A high fever
  • Cough with mucus that is severe or worsening

Although COVID-19 is caused by a virus, people with the illness can still develop a superinfection, which is a reinfection or secondary infection caused by bacteria. If this happens, antibiotics will be given to the patient. In order to prevent antibiotic resistance, when antibiotics become useless against bacteria, some researchers have suggested following antimicrobial stewardship principles .

Moreover, because severe cases of pneumonia may require treatment at a hospital, healthcare providers must consider the chance that a patient may acquire coinfections in hospitals. So, to be safe and not add to superinfection among hospitalized patients, antibiotics are warranted.

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How You Catch Pneumonia

While anyone can catch pneumonia, some people are more likely to come down with illness when coming into contact with the germs. Like many other illnesses, pneumonia is caught through contact with the bacteria or virus that creates pneumonia.

Coughing and sneezing are the most common ways these germs spread.

Its also possible to catch the illness by touching something like a counter or door handle, sharing cups and utensils, and touching your face without washing your hands first.

Who Is At Risk For Pneumonia

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Anyone can get pneumonia, but certain factors increase your risk for developing the illness. These include:

  • Being younger than two years of age
  • Being 65 years and older
  • Smoking
  • Having lung disease, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or cystic fibrosis
  • Having other certain health conditions or a weakened immune system due to diabetes, kidney disease, cancer treatment, human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , an organ transplant or other factors

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What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better

In addition to taking any antibiotics and/or medicine your doctor prescribes, you should also:

  • Get lots of rest. Rest will help your body fight the infection.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will keep you hydrated. They can help loosen the mucus in your lungs. Try water, warm tea, and clear soups.
  • Stop smoking if you smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke can make your symptoms worse. Smoking also increases your risk of developing pneumonia and other lung problems in the future. You should also avoid lit fireplaces or other areas where the air may not be clean.
  • Stay home from school or work until your symptoms go away. This usually means waiting until your fever breaks and you arent coughing up mucus. Ask your doctor when its okay for you to return to school or work.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier or take a warm bath. This will help clear your lungs and make it easier for you to breathe.

Facts You Should Know About Viral Pneumonia

  • Pneumonia is an infection or inflammation of the lungs. It can be in just one part of the lungs, or it can involve many parts.
  • Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms.
  • The severity of pneumonia depends on which organism is causing the infection and the immune response of the individual to that infection.
  • The deadly pandemic COVID-19 coronavirus causes severe lung symptoms including pneumonia in about 16%-20% of the people who contract it. Five percent of those with severe symptoms need a ventilator to breathe, as of March 2020.
  • Viral pneumonias other than the one caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 are usually not very serious, but they can be life-threatening in very old and very young patients and in people whose immune systems are weak.
  • Another two of the most publicized viral infections causing pneumonia are SARS and H1N1swine flu. Severe acute respiratory syndrome , which is also caused by a virus in the coronavirus family, had a major outbreak in 2003 with an estimated 8,000 cases and 750 deaths.
  • Swine flu was associated with an outbreak of pneumonia in 2009. Early reports came from cases in Mexico, with very high mortality. Many cases were also reported in the U.S. However, early identification and treatment helped reduce the death rate significantly.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
  • Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
  • Am I contagious?
  • How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
  • What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
  • What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
  • What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
  • Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
  • Do I need any vaccines?

Is Pneumonia Contagious When On Antibiotics

I Don’t Know If I Have Bronchitis or Pneumonia

Written byEmily LunardoPublished onJune 24, 2016

We know that pneumonia is contagious, but is it still contagious when you are on antibiotics? Before we answer that question, lets first explore how long pneumonia is contagious for.

When beginning antibiotic treatment for pneumonia, patients may typically observe improvements in health within two to three days. If by chance you actually get worse during this time, your doctor will change your treatment but only after at least three days.

Antibiotics have a high cure rate for pneumonia and are chosen based on a few factors, including the age of a patient, symptoms, severity, and the necessity of hospitalization.

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What Is Viral Pneumonia

There are several different types of pneumonia you can get. One of them is viral pneumonia. A virus just like those that cause the common cold and the flu causes viral pneumonia.

Viral pneumonia is contagious and can spread from person to person.

Read more to find out how it spreads, who is at risk and what preventative measures you can take to make sure you stay healthy.

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.

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Can I Get Reinfected If Ive Already Had Covid

Yes. You can get reinfected after having COVID-19, although it is less common in the first 90 days after infection, explained Blumberg. He noted that the vaccines are not 100% effective and breakthrough infections may occur. However, if youve had COVID-19 and are then vaccinated, this decreases your chance of reinfection by about half.

Vaccine protection wanes over time, Garcia added. This is something we expected to occur with vaccinated individuals, hence boosters are important, particularly for front line workers and those at higher risk of complications, such as those with diabetes and respiratory illnesses.

Preventing The Spread Of Pneumonia

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You can help prevent the spread of a pneumonia by taking some simple hygiene precautions.

These include:

  • washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, particularly after touching your nose and mouth, and before handling food
  • coughing and sneezing into a tissue, then throwing it away immediately and washing your hands
  • not sharing cups or kitchen utensils with others

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Pneumonia Can Be Fatal

When you acquire pneumonia, it could affect only one lung, both lungs, or spread from one to the other. It causes the air sacs in your lungs, also called alveoli, to become inflamed. This is what makes it difficult to breathe. Doctors typically treat pneumonia with antibiotics, but it remains the leading cause of infectious disease death in children under age five across the world. As with the flu, pneumonia can also be deadly for elderly people.

Smokers and those with asthma have a greater likelihood of catching all different strains of the disease. However, bacterial infection is the most common cause among adults in the United States.

When And How Is Pneumonia Contagious

A person can spread the germs that cause pneumonia when he or she coughs and expels the bacterial or viral infections that caused the disease. The droplets containing the virus or bacteria can land on a common surface, such as a table, telephone, or computer. You could also breathe in the droplets and bring them into your own breathing tract.

The time that a person may pass along pneumonia varies depending on the type and how he or she acquired it. Additionally, some types of pneumonia are much more contagious than others. Two examples of highly contagious strains of this illness are mycoplasma and mycobacterium.

Once a person who has pneumonia starts on antibiotics, he or she only remains contagious for the next 24 to 48 hours. This can be longer for certain types of organisms, including those that cause the disease tuberculosis. In that case, someone can remain contagious for up to two weeks after starting on antibiotics. When someone has viral pneumonia, the contagious period starts to subside when the symptoms do. This is particularly true of fever. Keep in mind that someone who had pneumonia may still cough occasionally for several weeks, even after he or she is no longer contagious.

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Pneumonia Kills More Children Than Any Other Infectious Disease

Many people associate pneumonia with the elderly, but it is actually the biggest infectious killer of children worldwide. It claims the lives of over 800,000 children under five every year, including over 153,000 newborns, who are particularly vulnerable to infection. That means a child dies from pneumonia every 39 seconds and almost all of these deaths are preventable.

A child dies from pneumonia every 39 seconds. Almost all of these deaths are preventable

What causes pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection of the lungs. It doesnt have one single cause it can develop from either bacteria, viruses or fungi in the air. When a child is infected, his lungs are filled with fluid and it becomes difficult to breathe. Children whose immune systems are immature or weakened such as by undernourishment, or diseases like HIV are more vulnerable to pneumonia.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

As pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, the most common symptoms are coughing, trouble breathing and fever. Children with pneumonia usually experience fast breathing, or their lower chest may draw in or retract when they inhale .

Is pneumonia contagious?

Pneumonia is contagious and can be spread through airborne particles . It can also be spread through other fluids, like blood during childbirth, or from contaminated surfaces.

How is pneumonia diagnosed in children?

What is the treatment for pneumonia?

Can pneumonia be prevented?

Is there a pneumonia vaccine?

What Is The Outlook For Pneumonia

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People who are otherwise healthy often recover quickly when given prompt and proper care. However, pneumonia is a serious condition and can be life-threatening if left untreated and especially for those individuals at increased risk for pneumonia.

Even patients who have been successfully treated and have fully recovered may face long-term health issues. Children who have recovered from pneumonia have an increased risk of chronic lung diseases. Adults may experience:

  • General decline in quality of life for months or years

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Is Mild Pneumonia Contagious

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.

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Which Types Of Pneumonia Is Contagious

Some types of pneumonia are extremely contagious while others are not contagious at all. This all depends on the type of pneumonia that the affected individual has.Bacterial Pneumonia is extremely contagious and can easily pass from an individual to another through close contact. Thus it is essential for an individual with Bacterial Pneumonia to begin antibiotics immediately to reduce contagiousness.

  • Walking pneumonia is also contagious and can be transmitted in the form of droplets coming of a sneeze or a cough but this type of pneumonia is not that contagious as the bacterial type pneumonia.
  • Viral pneumonia is again extremely contagious and in fact can spread faster than the bacterial form of pneumonia.
  • Fungal pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that is not at all contagious as it only affects people with weak immune system like the elderly and newborn children.
  • Aspiration pneumonia may be the most serious form of pneumonia but this type again is not at all contagious and does not transmit from one individual to another.

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What Are The Treatments For Pneumonia

Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia, which germ is causing it, and how severe it is:

  • Antibiotics treat bacterial pneumonia and some types of fungal pneumonia. They do not work for viral pneumonia.
  • In some cases, your provider may prescribe antiviral medicines for viral pneumonia
  • Antifungal medicines treat other types of fungal pneumonia

You may need to be treated in a hospital if your symptoms are severe or if you are at risk for complications. While there, you may get additional treatments. For example, if your blood oxygen level is low, you may receive oxygen therapy.

It may take time to recover from pneumonia. Some people feel better within a week. For other people, it can take a month or more.

How Can You Catch Pneumoniaand Who’s Most At Risk

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When pneumonia is caused by either bacteria or viruses, it can spread between people in a variety of ways: being exposed to viral particles through uncovered coughs or sneezes, sharing drinks or utensils with an infected person, or even touching a tissue from or taking care of a person with pneumonia. It’s important to note that these are mainly examples of community-acquired pneumonia, which occurs when someone develops pneumonia in the general community, per the CDC.

Anyone can get pneumonia, according to the ALA, but some people are at a greater risk for having severe pneumonia than others. Those include:

  • People age 65 and over.
  • Children under two years old.
  • People with chronic lung diseases like COPD or cystic fibrosis.
  • People with serious chronic illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, and sickle cell disease.
  • People with a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDs, an organ transplant, chemotherapy, or long-term steroid use.
  • People with difficulty swallowing.
  • Those who had a recent respiratory infection, like a cold, laryngitis, or the flu.
  • People who have been recently hospitalized.
  • Smokers.
  • People who abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, pollutants, or toxic fumes, including secondhand smoke.

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How Do You Get Pneumonia

The way pneumonia develops and spreads depends on the type and cause, says David Cutler, MD, family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.

Many types of microbes including bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause pneumonia. These germs commonly spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and expels bacterial or viral droplets. These droplets could land on a surface, such as a table or a doorknob, infecting others who come into contact with the surface and then touch their eyes or mouth. Or, you may breathe in respiratory droplets from an infected person.

Most of the time, your immune system can effectively fight off these germs. But sometimes they overpower your body’s natural defenses and invade your lungs. In response, your body produces white blood cells to fight off the attackers, filling the lung’s air sacs with pus or cellular debris and causing pneumonia.

Adults older than 65 and children under the age of two are at an increased risk of developing pneumonia. This is because an older adult’s immune system isn’t as robust as a young adult’s, and a young child’s immune system is still developing.

Those who are immunocompromised or take medication that suppresses the immune system, like oral corticosteroids, are also at an increased risk of pneumonia because their bodies may not be able to fight off the germs that cause the infection.

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