April 30, 2016

Pneumonia

Is pneumonia contagious?

Most types of bacterial pneumonia are not highly contagious. Even though it is possible to spread bacteria from one person to another, pneumonia typically occurs in people with risk factors or weakened immune defenses when bacteria that are normally present in the nose or throat invade the lung tissue. Any kind of bacterial or viral pneumonia has the potential to be contagious, but Mycoplasma pneumoniae and tuberculosis are two types of bacterial pneumonia that are highly contagious. Breathing in infected droplets that come from patients who are coughing or sneezing can spread the disease to others.

What is the contagious period for pneumonia?

It is impossible to say with certainty exactly how long a person with pneumonia is contagious, since this varies according to the type of germ or organism that caused the pneumonia. This contagious period can range from one to two days to weeks. In general, while an infected person is coughing or sneezing, there is the potential to release contaminated droplets into the air.

Many bacterial pneumonias are much less contagious after antibiotics have been taken for about 24-48 hours. However, this time period may vary for some organisms. For example, with tuberculosis, it can take two weeks or more of antibiotics before the person is no longer contagious. With viral pneumonias, the patient becomes less contagious after the symptoms have improved, especially fever. Some people with viral pneumonia may not be contagious after one to two days with no fever, but others may still shed some infectious virus particles for a longer time. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 4/22/2016