Pneumonia is usually not contagious. Most of the patients develop pneumonia when microbes in their mouth, throat, or digestive system reach the lungs due to broken body resistance or other chronic diseases that trigger them.
In other words, people with healthy immunity do not get pneumonia from patients. However, as we have seen in COVID-19, it is very contagious and caused by viruses that spread rapidly through respiration.
Pneumonia In species, the risk of respiratory transmission from a sick person to healthy people is high. In addition, the addition of bacterial lung infections to the picture in this type of viral pneumonia can cause fatal consequences.
What are the symptoms of pneumonia (pneumonia)?
High fever, weakness, cough, sputum, chest pain are the most common symptoms. In viral pneumonia due to COVID-19, this picture can be encountered in a wide range from asymptomatic to respiratory failure. Regardless of the type, pneumonia should be treated under the control of a physician.
Who are at risk?
Individuals over the age of 65, those with chronic heart, lung, kidney and liver disease, cancer patients, diabetics, neurological diseases such as stroke and paralysis, those with impaired swallowing functions due to conditions such as Alzheimer’s and people with suppressed immunity are the riskiest for pneumonia.
However, even if they do not have chronic diseases, those who smoke and drink alcohol, those who do not eat well, who follow an uncontrolled and very strict weight loss diet, those who have had their spleen removed, and those who experience a sudden decrease in body resistance due to excessive stress are also at high risk of pneumonia.
What are the diagnosis and treatment?
A detailed examination, chest radiography, and blood tests are usually sufficient for the diagnosis of lung infections. In case of doubt, lung tomography is also very helpful. A sputum culture may be requested to detect the causative microorganism.
Regardless of the cause, treatment planning should be made after a diagnosis of pneumonia is made. Within this planning, a decision is made on whether the patient should be treated as an outpatient or inpatient. Afterward, the patient is followed up closely with the most appropriate antibiotic treatment and supportive treatments for the microorganism that causes pneumonia.
Is it possible to be protected from pneumonia?
With the COVID-19 pandemic, measures such as avoiding the crowd and using masks for elderly individuals, those with chronic diseases and immunocompromised individuals, which are our general recommendations for every period, have become even more important. In addition, the importance of pneumonia vaccines obtained from “pneumococcus” bacteria, which is the most common cause of pneumonia, has become even more significant. The pneumonia vaccine can be given anytime a person has no active infection or fever. It has no seasonal timing like the flu shot.
Who do we recommend the pneumonia vaccine?
- Individuals over the age of 65 even if they do not have a chronic disease,
- Those with chronic diseases such as kidney, liver, heart, lung, brain, and diabetes,
- Patients with compromised immunity,
- Organ transplant recipients,
- Cancer treatment,
- Those whose spleen is removed or whose function is impaired,
- Alcohol addicts
- Hospital and nursing home staff.