Walking Pneumonia

Prevention

Just like any other cold or flu, several simple steps can help prevent walking pneumonia. The biggest step to keep from getting sick is to wash the hands with hot water as often as possible, especially after coming in contact with someone who may be sick, or after being in a crowded public location. Getting a flu shot each year is another great way to boost the body’s immune system, and thus prevent not just the flu, but many other illnesses including walking pneumonia. A final way to prevent getting walking pneumonia, especially for people who have weak immune systems, would be to ask a health professional if getting the pneumonia vaccine would be advisable.

Treatment

As its name suggests, walking pneumonia is easily treated at home, and very rarely requires hospitalization. It is imperative, however, that anyone who shows symptoms of walking pneumonia seek immediate medical attention. While many people with walking pneumonia treat themselves at home, pneumonia is a serious illness that should be taken care of by a trained healthcare professional.

The most important thing to help cure any form of pneumonia is to get plenty of rest; overexertion is an easy way to prevent healing, and allow the bacteria to stay in the body longer.

Walking pneumonia is most commonly treated using a 10 day regimen of antibiotics. If a doctor prescribes antibiotics it is important to take them as these will lower the spread of bacteria, and shorten the duration of the illness. Medications such as Tylenol and Advil can also be taken to help lower fever and minimize body aches and pains. It is important to consult a physician before taking any cough medications; cough medications prevent mucus in the lungs from being expelled, thus they can prolong the duration of the illness.

Recent Debates and Developments

While the existence of walking pneumonia is not highly debated, there is some argument by statisticians surrounding the extent of its occurrence and spread in the United States. Since it is not only more rarely diagnosed than typical pneumonia, but is also more commonly treated at home, it has been difficult to calculate its exact occurrence rate in the U.S.

More Information
MedlinePlus: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000079.htm
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking-pneumonia/AN00137
Centers for Disease Control: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/lung/walking_pneumonia.html#a_Diagnosis

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