Pneumonia : What is it?

Pneumonia is an infection and inflammation of the air cavities of the lungs. It can be caused by a variety of agents like virus, bacteria, fungi or atypical micro organism. The lungs become inflamed, and the tiny air sacs, or alveoli, inside the lungs fill up with fluid.

Who is at risk?
Pneumonia can affect any age group but the individuals at major risk of life threatening complications are infants(age<1 yr), children under 5 years ,old age group (>65 years) and the immunocompromised (people on steroids, immunodeficient ,kidney disease and splenectomised individuals).

Is it Contagious?
Pneumonia can be fairly contagious as inhalation is the chief mode of spread of bacteria and virus. Avoid sneezing and coughing in public areas and especially in front of children. It can also spread by objects used by the infected individuals as the virus or bacteria may be shed over it.

In general, viral pneumonia is more contagious than bacterial and fungal pneumonia. That’s because viruses are more likely to spread from person to person. Some types of pneumonia are contagious only in certain environments.  If you catch germs that cause pneumonia, your chance of developing the disease depends on your age, health, lifestyle, and of course, your immunity.

Dr. Mukesh Joshi
  Chest Physician