Pneumonia can originate from several causes, including staphylococcus aureus (the staph bacteria, which is related to MRSA). Symptoms for each kind of pneumonia are similar and can make the patient very uncomfortable. If antibiotic treatment starts right away, the patient will not be contagious within 2 days.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs; it can be in one lung or both. This disease comes in three forms: fungal, viral and bacterial. Viral pneumonia is less serious than bacterial pneumonia, and occurs more frequently in the winter months. Bacterial pneumonia can be more dangerous, depending on the bacterium, and makes the patient feel very ill.
Bacterial pneumonia puts the patient out of commission for several days; she will have a high fever and feel lethargic. If she has a difficult time breathing and presents with bluish lips or fingernail beds, she might be hospitalized. Symptoms could include fever, chills, cough (productive with phlegm), wheezing, rapid breathing, chest pain, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, stomachache, lethargy, loss of appetite and a bluish color to the fingernail beds or lips.
According to Dr. Sara Dumond of Baby Magazine, once the patient begins taking antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing his pneumonia, he can expect to remain contagious for 48 hours from the time he takes his first dose. He can easily spread his illness by coughing, sneezing and sharing eating implements (fork, plate, glass). It is important that he not come into close contact with others until the 48-hour period after his first antibiotic dose has passed.
Preventing Spread of Infection
In an article written by Dr. Donna D’Allessandro and Lindsay Huth, B.A. for virtualpediatrichospital.org, the authors state that if the patient knows she is contagious, she should avoid being around others, wash her hands frequently, wipe down surfaces she has touched with antibacterial wipes and take all of her medication (antibiotic) until it is gone; even if she “feels better” before she finishes her medication, she still has live bacteria in her system. Stopping medication early helps bacteria become resistant to antibiotics that are still effective at killing it.
Importance of Antibiotics
Taking an antibiotic upon receiving a diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia is key to returning to good health; bacterial pneumonia is more severe than other forms of this illness and if the patient ignores taking medication, he could become very seriously ill. He may also suffer permanent damage to his lungs. Often, the pneumonia comes from a staph infection (staphylococcus aureus), which causes methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. If the pneumonia does originate from this particular bacteria, it is vitally important that the patient take his full course of antibiotics.