Why Pneumonia Isn’t Contagious, but What Causes It Is

Why Pneumonia Isn’t Contagious, but What Causes It Is

Lying there in bed feeling like a piece of clay? Wondering if you have pneumonia? Most people who suffer from an infection get better in a matter of days or weeks.

But, occasionally, a chest infection caused by bacteria or a virus such as a cold, can turn into pneumonia. The pneumonia itself isn’t contagious, but the original sickness that caused it to show up, is.


So, what is pneumonia, exactly? It’s an inflammation and infection of one or both of your lungs.

It makes it difficult to breathe, and when you have it, wonderful pus and or fluid takes up residence in your lungs, causing you to cough up phlegm and get the chills or a fever.

Simply put, the symptoms are pretty similar to a cold or having the respiratory flu, but they last a lot longer.

Who gets it? Pneumonia can strike anyone but babies 2 years old and younger, and adults over the age of 65 are at a higher risk for developing it.

The good news is that there are vaccines that can help to prevent you from getting it, which is a good thing.


The CDC estimates that about 50,000 people die from pneumonia each year in the United States, with most of these being adults.

Millions of children die from the illness each year around the globe, as well. If more people were good news against the bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia, this number could surely go down.

Feeling curious? To learn more about what it’s like to live with pneumonia, check out these stories gathered by Doctors Without Borders.

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