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Could It Be ‘Walking Pneumonia’?

Written by Courteney

Posted on February 12, 2017 at 10:49 pm

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Walking pneumonia (also called atypical pneumonia) is a sub-type of pneumonia, a contagious condition marked by pus and inflammation that clog up the airways making it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia can be life-threatening (especially for the immunocompromised), but walking pneumonia is rarely serious and doesn’t usually require hospitalization. It may, however, require antibiotics or other medication to clear up.

What Causes Walking Pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia can be caused by a bacterial, fungal or viral lung infection or inhaled irritants, but is most often caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It is a contagious condition, often passed through a contaminated person’s sneezes or coughs in a crowded place like a school or hospital. Symptoms don’t usually start surfacing until many days after exposure (it can take up to a month).

What are the Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia?

Many people make the mistake of ignoring a cold that’s lingered on too long, when really, it may not be a cold at all. Walking pneumonia can mimic many symptoms of a cold. If it is left untreated or doesn’t clear on its own, however, it could potentially cause complications. Some of the common symptoms of walking pneumonia include:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Excess mucus or sputum
  3. Chest pain upon inhalation
  4. Labored breathing or wheezing
  5. A harsh cough that flares up and calms down again (but won’t seem to go away)
  6. Fatigue
  7. Aches and pains
  8. Fever or chills
  9. Weakness or faintness
  10. Headache
  11. Skin symptoms such as a rash
  12. Loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss

When to See the Doc?

Even though walking pneumonia is usually mild enough that a person can go about their daily business, if it starts hanging around too long you may need antibiotics (only if it is bacterial by nature) or other prescribed medicine to help clear it up. A doctor may also need to do some tests to check your lungs for any residual problems from the condition. So, if you’ve been experiencing the above symptoms or have a “cold” that has lasted longer than 10 days, it is time to get it checked out. Our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to help with health inquiries like this, so feel free to check us out if in doubt!

 

 

 

 

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