Who’s More at Risk of Developing Pneumonia?
After learning that pneumonia is contagious, it’s time to re-examine how not all people who get exposed to the pneumonia-causing organism will develop pneumonia.
Hence, it’s important to understand the factors that make a person more at risk of getting the infection.
Generally, you have a higher risk if you have:
- A weakened immune system. People who are under the age of 2 and over 65 are vulnerable. The same thing is true for people who have conditions that decrease their immunity (HIV, chemotherapy, autoimmune diseases). Pregnant women also have a weaker immune system as their body focuses on supporting the growing baby.
- Conditions that affect the lungs. For instance, if you’ve just been recently sick with flu or cold, you may be more at risk of developing pneumonia.
- Smoking and drinking habits. Alcohol could weaken the immune system and smoking causes damage to the lung tissues, compromising their ability to fight off pneumonia.
- Exposure to toxic fumes. Regular or prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke, chemicals, and other air pollutants might weaken the integrity of the lungs, making it easier for the infection to set in.
- Recently been admitted to the hospital. You become more at risk if you spent a lot of time lying down. This particular position allows the accumulation of mucus, fluids, and germs in the lungs.
How to Prevent the Spread of Pneumonia
Since pneumonia is contagious, it’s crucial to take measures to reduce its spread.
If you develop pneumonia symptoms like coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and chest pain when coughing or breathing, consider the following steps:
Seek medical help right away
According to reports, you are still considered contagious until the 2nd day of your antibiotic therapy, granted that you no longer have a fever. This is the reason why going to the doctor as soon as you develop the symptoms is important.
If you have viral pneumonia, remember that you may still be contagious until your symptoms have improved and you no longer have a fever for a couple of days.
Stay at home
To reduce the spread of pneumonia, do your best to limit social interaction. If it’s possible, stay at home until you have recovered.
If you can’t help but be with people, try to stay as far away from them as possible. Additionally, wear a face mask and practice cough etiquette.
Wash your hands frequently
Since pneumonia can spread through contaminated objects, avoid touching things without washing your hands first.