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Q.

How long does pnuemonia bacteria live outside the body?

My 84 yr. old Mom with heart disease and history of seizures, was in an enclosed vehicle sitting in the exact seat where someone who had bacterial pnuemonia was brought to the hospital and admitted 12 hrs. before.  I consider this being dangerously exposed.  Am I correct, or does the bacteria die sooner than I realize?  The windows were never opened due to cool weather.  Thank You

 

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Primary Care
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A.
Exposure to any bacteria does not necessarily imply that you wil get a disease from it. There are not specific bacteria that only cause pneumonia, so exposure to someone with pneumonia, does not mean the exposed person will get pneumonia. Bacteria and viruses are more prevalent in closed spaces, and can last for a while on surfaces, but we are ALL exposed to these types of germs every day....every hour...when we are around people; even people that appear well.

Your mother is elderly, and her immune system may be more vulnerable. Did she get the flu vaccine this year? Has she had the pneumonia vaccine (Pneumovax)? If not, this would be something that her doctor would likely recommend.

If your mother becomes ill, she should be seen by her medical provider and carefully examined, but don't worry too much about this exposure. She may be tougher than she looks, and may not get ill at all.

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