In general, some types of pneumonia that are caused due to bacterial or viral infections are highly contagious. The infection spreads rapidly when the person who has it sneezes or coughs openly. They contain infectious germs in their respiratory tract. The germs residing in their nose and throat can get passed on to another person via air, because illnesses like flu, cold, and pneumonia are air-borne diseases.
When the infected person releases small respiratory droplets through sneezing, coughing, or simply exhaling, the people close to them catch the infection. The germs enter and get settled in their respiratory tract, which consists of the nose, throat, voice box, windpipe, and lungs. Some reach down to the airways of the lungs and start causing damage, which leads to pneumonia.
Moreover, Pneumonia is a lung infection, which produces the symptoms of flu. Due to the damage caused by the bacteria or virus to the lungs, the person develops breathing difficulties. Apart from breathing problems, they may develop other symptoms that include fever, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, chest pain, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
In addition, the transmission of this infection also happens when an object is contaminated with the germs, and someone touches the object and then touches their nose, mouth, or eyes. It gets easily transmitted from one person to another. So, in the case of pneumonia, there is a very high risk of contagion.
How does pneumonia damage your lungs?
After exposure to germs happens when the person inhales the respiratory droplets released by the infected person. The germs get inside the respiratory tract and pass down from the nose, throat, windpipe, and finally to the lungs. They start causing damage to the large and small airways.
As soon as your immune system detects the invasion of some foreign elements in the body, it kicks in and starts fighting off the germs actively. In the process of killing infectious germs in the lungs, the immune system gives rise to inflammation in the lungs, which causes the air sacs or alveoli of the lungs to fill up with fluid or purulent material. This fluid causes cough, breathing difficulties, chills, and fever.
Preventing the transmission of pneumonia
- Some precautions must be taken to avoid the spreading of pneumonia to others. These include:
- Washing your hands thoroughly, several times a day, especially after touching some object will reduce the risk of infection.
- Try to avoid crowded places, as proximity and closeness lead to the transmission of infection through the release of respiratory droplets.
- Maintain a safe distance from infants, children, older people, and those with weak immune systems. These individuals are highly prone to infection and its damage can lead to life-threatening consequences in them.
- Do not sneeze or cough without covering your mouth with a napkin or tissue. Discard that tissue immediately after one use. And do not forget to wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, and eyes or shaking hands with others before sanitizing your hands.
Treatments available for pneumonia
Pneumonia is a common illness that produces mild category symptoms. Its symptoms are similar to the common cold or flu. The condition can be well-managed at home. The various methods for treating it are as follows:
Antibiotic medications will be best in case of bacterial pneumonia. Antibiotics work by inhibiting the vital processes in the bacteria. They kill the bacteria and prevent it from getting spread. Antibiotics aid the immune system to efficiently fight off infectious bacteria.
These medications treat viral pneumonia. They stop the virus from multiplying in the body, which provides a boost to your immune system to fight them off more efficiently.
Antifungal agents inhibit fungal growth and multiplication. This supports the immune system in killing off the fungus more easily.
Moreover, OTC medications can be helpful in alleviating muscle pain and fever and provide relief. According to the Mayo Clinic, some common OTC medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen can alleviate pain and discomfort to a great extent.
Take enough rest
Resting is essential even when you are using medications. It gives your body adequate time to heal itself and boosts your immune system to carry out its action effectively.
Moreover, Pneumococcal vaccines are vaccines that can prevent streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium, from infecting the lungs and leading to pneumonia. Pneumonia is mostly caused due to this bacterium. One can protect themselves from the risk of pneumonia and its complications by getting vaccinated. Vaccination is recommended for:
- Infants and babies.
- Older adults aged 65 and above.
- Children and adults with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and other immunity-weakening diseases.
Tips to prevent the worsening of pneumonia
- If you have caught the infection, you must use medications to manage it well. It is equally important to boost your immunity with foods like spinach, kale, and leafy greens that are loaded with antioxidants, which speed up the recovery from the illness. Also, foods like nuts, seeds, beans, and chicken have strong anti-inflammatory properties that relieve body pain.
- Take the medications on time. Do not skip any medication. Complete the course as prescribed by the healthcare provider.
- Do not smoke during illness. The harmful smoke worsens the condition by reducing your immunity, which strengthens the bacteria or viruses and encourages them to do more damage.