Walking Pneumonia

Overview

Atypical Pneumonia (more commonly referred to as walking pneumonia) is a less serious and shorter lived form of pneumonia. It is caused by a different strain of bacteria than typical pneumonia, and can be caused by Mycoplasma, Legionella, or Chlamydophila bacteria. It is known as walking pneumonia because it does not always require bed rest like regular pneumonia and many patients are able to go about their jobs and lives as normal. Since it is caused by a different bacterium than typical pneumonia, symptoms can differ greatly from typical pneumonia, and are generally less serious. Walking pneumonia is particularly common among school aged children and their families, as the bacteria are easily spread in crowded school environments.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Walking Pneumonia often starts out similar to a common cold, but then the symptoms get worse and develop into pneumonia. Unlike typical pneumonia however, walking pneumonia usually lasts no longer than 14 days. Here is a comprehensive list of the symptoms associated with walking pneumonia:
• Low grade fever
Cough (possibly with the presence of bloody mucus)
Chills
Shortness of breath and/or wheezing
Chest pain brought on by coughing
Vomiting
Loss of appetite
Sore throat and headache

In rare occurrences diarrhea, ear pain, and eye pain or soreness can occur. Walking pneumonia often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms are so mild compared to typical pneumonia.  Many patients assume they have the flu and do not get an examination. However, a doctor can easily determine if a patient has atypical pneumonia through a series of blood tests, throat samples, and chest x-rays. An experienced doctor can also often determine if a patient has a form of pneumonia simply by listening to their lungs.

Causes

Walking pneumonia is caused through the spread of several bacteria; these bacteria differ from those that cause typical pneumonia. Increases in cases of walking pneumonia are often caused by large congregations of people who are in close contact with one another, who do not partake in preventative healthcare measures such as frequent hand washing, and covering the mouth after sneezing. This is why it is a fairly common illness among young school age children who easily and unknowingly spread the bacteria to their classmates, their teachers, and their families.  Continue reading for Prevention information . . .

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