Is Pneumonia Contagious?

pneumonia contagious

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  • Viral and bacterial pneumonia are usually contagious, and can be passed on to other people through exposure
  • Contagious pneumonia cases can spread quickly, so if someone you know has bacterial or viral pneumonia, make sure to take extra precautions to avoid becoming infected

When people discover that another individual has pneumonia, their first instinct is to stay away and avoid physical contact with the affected individual. However, pneumonia can actually be either contagious or non-contagious — it depends on the organism that caused the illness.1

How Will You Know if Your Pneumonia Is Contagious?

Viral and bacterial pneumonia are usually contagious, and can be passed on to other people through exposure. However, they are not contagious throughout the course of illness — only during a certain period. A bacterial pneumonia also becomes less likely to be contagious after a few days of antibiotic treatment.2

Meanwhile, pneumonia caused by fungi or chemicals is not contagious. Chemical pneumonia, which is caused by inhalation of toxic fumes or gases, often manifests either because of chemical injury to the lung tissue or aspiration of gastric contents (such as gastric or stomach acid)3 in people with altered levels of consciousness, such as coma patients or inebriated individuals.4 Unless a virus or bacteria infects the lung tissue that is injured, this type is usually non-contagious.5

Factors That Increase Your Pneumonia Risk

Children below the age of 5 and adults over the age of 65 have a higher risk of pneumonia, as their weakened immune systems make them more susceptible to this illness. There are also certain risk factors that make people more likely to acquire pneumonia. These include:6

  • Having a weakened immune system due to medications
  • Having a pre-existing medical condition, such as heart or lung disease, asthma, AIDS/HIV, cancer, or damaged or removed spleens
  • Smoking

Contagious pneumonia cases can spread quickly, so if someone you know has bacterial or viral pneumonia, make sure to take extra precautions to avoid becoming infected. Here are some strategies to remember:

Wash your hands frequently with water and a non-antibacterial soap.

Do not share eating utensils and glasses with people infected with pneumonia.

Avoid smoking, as tobacco can weaken your lungs and hinder its ability to fight infections.7

Strengthen your immune system by consuming a healthy diet composed of fresh, organic whole foods. Avoid processed foods at all costs.

Get enough exercise, which will not only help reduce inflammation, but bolster your immune system as well.

Avoid stress — Stress and anxiety can impair your immune system and make your body more susceptible to infections.

Get plenty of rest and high-quality sleep.

MORE ABOUT PNEUMONIA

Pneumonia: Introduction

What Is Pneumonia?

Is Pneumonia Contagious

Pneumonia Duration

Pneumonia Types

Pneumonia Causes

Pneumonia Symptoms

Pneumonia Treatment

Pneumonia In Children

Pneumonia In Elderly

Bronchitis vs Pneumonia

Pneumonia FAQ

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