A virus just like those that cause the common cold and the flu causes viral pneumonia. It can be contagious and spread from person to person.
Read more to find out how it spreads, who is at risk and what preventative measures you can take to make sure you stay healthy.
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How Does Viral Pneumonia Spread?
There are several ways the virus that causes pneumonia can spread between people. Because the virus is able to survive off its host, it lingers on commonly used surfaces such as door handles and keyboards.
Here are some of the most common ways viral pneumonia transfers between people:
- Coughing that is not covered can spread droplets from the infected lungs to common surfaces, and directly onto people in some cases.
- Sneezing into the open also disperses viral droplets into the open.
- Sharing cups, straws, and eating utensils.
- Sharing lip balms.
- Touching a tissue or other object after a person infected with viral pneumonia has used it.
- Not washing your hands regularly (especially after, coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or coming into close contact with an infected person).
While these are the typical ways viral pneumonia is spread, not everyone who comes into contact with it will become infected. Some people are at higher risk.
Who is at Risk of Contracting Viral Pneumonia?
Certain people are more likely to contract viral pneumonia than others.
These people include:
- Those who are 65 and older
- Those who are 2 years or younger
- Those who are ill
- Those suffering from an autoimmune disease such as HIV/AIDS
- Long-term users of immunosuppressant drugs
- Those living with a respiratory condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Those who have long-term usage of inhaled corticosteroids
- Those who smoke tobacco
- Stroke survivors who have swallowing problems or are bedridden. (Small amounts of liquids in the lungs from improper swallowing can build up and lead to viral pneumonia.)
- Those with weakened immune systems due to disease or medications
- People who smoke, abuse drugs and alcohol
- People with asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes or heart failure
If you are afflicted by any of these listed conditions it is crucial you understand you are at a higher risk of contagion. This also means you may have a more difficult and longer recovery. Read on to find out how to prevent catching viral pneumonia.
Preventing Viral Pneumonia
There are many measures that can be taken to reduce the chances of catching viral pneumonia. Despite your risk level it is smart to always practice preventative measures to stop the spread of viral infections to those at higher risk.
Some great ways to reduce the spread of viral pneumonia are:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 2 minutes regularly, especially if you are caring for or came into close contact with someone who has pneumonia.
- Sanitize commonly used surfaces such as countertops and tables, (don’t forget less thought of places such as door handles, keyboards, cellphones, TV remotes, etc.). This is especially important to do around someone who has viral pneumonia who is also using these items.
- Get vaccinated.
- Stop or don’t start smoking.
- Keep your body in good health by exercising and consistently eating a balanced diet.
- If you have any ongoing health problems, take all medications as prescribed.
- Try to limit contact with people who are sick when possible.
- If you have viral pneumonia, stay home until your doctor confirms you are no longer contagious and will not put others at risk.
If you think you are suffering from viral pneumonia book an appointment with a PlushCare physician for an official diagnosis and treatment plan today.