Pneumonia is a common disease in children and the elderly. The disease can be caused by viruses, bacteria. So many families with people who are ill are very concerned about whether or not pneumonia is contagious and how to prevent it.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation of the air sac in one or both lungs. The air sacs can be filled with fluid or pus, causing a cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.
Pneumonia can be mild to severe, life-threatening. The disease is most dangerous for infants and young children, the elderly over 65 and people with health problems or a weak immune system. Can pneumonia be spread? The answer is "Yes", especially pneumonia in children.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the type of germ that causes the infection, the age and overall health of the patient. Mild signs and symptoms are usually similar to a cold or flu, but they will last longer than usual.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
Babies and infants may not show any signs of infection. Or they may be vomiting, fever and coughing, restless or tired and have no energy, or have trouble breathing and have trouble eating.
See a doctor if you have trouble breathing, chest pain, fever lasts 102 degrees F (39 degrees C) or higher, persistent cough, especially if you cough up pus.
It is especially important that people in the following high-risk groups see a doctor:
For some older people and people with heart failure or chronic lung problems, pneumonia can quickly become a life-threatening condition.
Can pneumonia be spread?The answer is yes".
Many germs can cause pneumonia. The most common are bacteria and viruses in the air we breathe. The body usually prevents these germs from spreading to the lungs, but sometimes they can tame the immune system, even when the overall health is healthy. Pneumonia is classified according to the type of germs that cause it and where the patient is infected:
Pneumonia acquired in a hospital: Some people get pneumonia during a hospital stay because of another illness. Hospital-acquired pneumonia can be serious because the bacteria that cause it are more resistant to antibiotics and because people who are sick already have it. People who are using breathing machines are at high risk for this type of pneumonia.
Healthcare-acquired pneumonia is a bacterial infection that occurs in people who live in long-term care facilities or are cared for in outpatient clinics, including kidney dialysis centers. Like hospital-acquired pneumonia, health-related pneumonia can be caused by bacteria that are more resistant to antibiotics.
Respiratory pneumonia occurs when you eat food, drink, vomit or spit in your lungs. Inhaled pneumonia is more likely to occur if something disrupts normal mouth reflexes, such as brain injury or swallowing problems, excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
Pneumonia can affect anyone. But the two age groups most at risk are:
Even with treatment, some people with pneumonia, especially those at high risk, may experience complications, including:
Pneumonia is generally not contagious, but the viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia can infect others. Some viruses that cause infections of the upper respiratory tract (throat and nose) will cause pneumonia. To prevent the spread of the virus, it is best to protect your baby from those around (or family members) who have throat and nose problems. Do not share your baby's clothes, face towels or other items with their family, siblings or other children.
Childhood pneumonia is an acute, contagious disease that can be life threatening. Pneumonia can be spread from patients to their neighbors. Patients with pneumonia can spread germs such as viruses, bacteria, fungi . through tiny droplets of saliva that are released when coughing, sneezing or talking .
Make sure children are vaccinated. Doctors recommend different types of pneumonia vaccines for children under 2 years of age and for children from 2 to 5 years old who are at risk of having particular pneumococcal disease. Doctors also recommend getting a flu shot for children older than 6 months.