Pneumonia is an inflammatory process that affects the lung tissue. This disease is infectious in nature, it is caused by various types of pathogens. The infectiousness of pneumonia depends on the type of microorganism, on the degree of closeness of contact with the patient. In addition, the health status of a person, the degree of his immune defense plays a role: someone’s body easily copes with the infection, and in someone a small amount of pathogenic flora leads to the development of a severe inflammatory process.

Is it possible to get pneumonia

It is impossible to contract pneumonia directly, this follows from the definition of the disease. It only indicates the localization of the inflammation focus. Under certain conditions, pathogenic microflora, having penetrated the body, can start a pathological process in the lungs, but this does not always happen.

Bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa can provoke pneumonia. The causes of pneumonia in most cases are pneumococcus, streptococcus and staphylococcus. In such cases, a person poses the greatest danger to others at the initial stage of the disease, when a large number of pathogenic microorganisms enter the environment, especially when a person coughs. However, even with infection, for example, pneumococcus, the inflammatory process in the lungs develops in 1-2 cases out of 10. More often people do not get sick if they have strong immunity, or the inflammation affects only the upper respiratory tract, without descending into the lungs. 

Most often, pneumonia is contagious to others when it is provoked by the so-called atypical pathogens. Among them, the most common are mycoplasmas, chlamydia, legionella . Viruses are also classified as atypical pathogens. A bacterium such as Legionella is highly virulent , and damage by this microorganism very often leads to the development of an inflammatory process in the lungs.

The viruses that cause pneumonia are also contagious. It is not a fact that when the virus is transmitted from one person to another, the latter will get pneumonia. For example, infection with the measles virus very rarely causes pneumonia. If a patient has pneumonia against the background of measles, he will be dangerous to others precisely as a carrier of the virus of this disease, capable of transmitting virions to a healthy person, while the risk of developing pneumonia is very low. The same applies to those cases when pneumonia develops as a secondary disease, against the background of viral infections such as influenza or ARVI. There is a high risk of getting these diseases when communicating, very high – with kisses and other close contacts. However, the likelihood of developing pneumonia against their background will depend on many factors: the degree of immune defense, the state of human health and others. 

Some types of pneumonia are not contagious at all. Inflammation of the lungs can occur in a bedridden patient due to fluid stagnation in the airways. Conditionally pathogenic microflora, present in the body of every person, receives optimal conditions for reproduction and activation of inflammation.

At-risk groups

Not all categories of people are equally susceptible to infection. The risk of contracting pneumonia depends not only on the virulence of the microorganism, but also on the state of the person, the functional capabilities of his immune system. The following groups of people have the weakest resistance to pathogenic flora that can provoke pneumonia:

  • small children (up to 1-1.5 years old);
  • elderly people;
  • patients suffering from diseases that cause severe immunodeficiency;
  • pregnant women;
  • patients suffering from chronic pathologies of the cardiovascular system, bronchi and lungs, kidneys;
  • diabetics;
  • allergy sufferers;
  • people with reduced immunity due to chronic alcoholism, drug addiction, smokers.

Transmission routes

Most often, bacteria and viruses are transmitted from person to person by airborne droplets or by contact. These methods of infection are also called bronchogenic , that is, the infection enters the body through the respiratory tract. During the initial development of the disease, pathogenic microorganisms spread through the air when coughing, sneezing, even just talking. Influenza viruses, ARVI, and some types of bacteria are transmitted by airborne droplets.

Pathogenic microflora is transmitted by everyday means: through dishes, linen, towels and other household items. Not necessarily all family members will develop pneumonia, but infection with bacteria, respiratory viruses very quickly affects those living in the same territory. This also sometimes happens in hospitals: nosocomial or hospital- acquired pneumonia is considered the most severe. The microflora that is contaminated in hospital settings is resistant to many types of antibiotics. In combination with other factors (for example, a patient lying down), pneumonia develops rapidly.

There is one more mechanism for the spread of infection. If during pregnancy a woman gets an infection that leads to pneumonia, she passes the disease on to her baby. Viruses and bacteria can overcome placental defenses, and infection can also be transmitted during childbirth. A newborn baby will be sick, although it may not necessarily develop inflammation in the lungs. However, this happens quite often, since the respiratory and immune systems of a child are not as perfect as that of an adult. In addition, he is in a horizontal position most of the time, and the lungs become inflamed more easily.

Incubation period

Each microorganism needs time to “get used to” in the body, to establish itself and begin to multiply. The time of migration and consolidation of pathogenic microflora is called the incubation period. At this stage of the disease, a person is already dangerous to others, therefore, at the first signs of a respiratory infection, it is better to consult a doctor and start treatment while staying at home.

The duration of the incubation period is individual for different types of microorganisms. As a rule, it is several days, rarely – a week or longer. At this time, there are practically no symptoms, there may be a decrease in tone, a slight increase in temperature.


For the purpose of prevention, it is recommended to get vaccinated against pneumococcal infection, to be vaccinated against influenza annually. Vaccination is an effective method of preventing diseases that can cause pneumonia. You should also take measures to strengthen the immune system. You need good nutrition, periodic courses of vitamins, sufficient physical activity.

Proper care and maintenance of normal sanitary conditions in the apartment will help to protect the child from pneumonia. It is recommended to temper children from an early age. It is advisable to avoid contact with people with respiratory infections. In winter, it is necessary to ensure that the child does not breathe cold air, wrap it up more carefully. If signs of an infectious disease are found, it should be properly treated. Self-administration of medications or unfinished ARVI treatment can provoke the development of pneumonia.

The risk of contracting pneumonia directly through contact with a patient is extremely small. The transmission of pathogenic microorganisms from the carrier to a healthy person is possible with some types of pneumonia, but not pneumonia of the nosological form.