The phrase “walking pneumonia” is not a medical diagnosis. The phrase is a layman’s term for a milder case of pneumonia which is known as mycoplasma or atypical pneumonia technically.
However, walking pneumonia continues and does refer to a very real condition.
What is Walking Pneumonia?
Walking pneumonia is a real type of pneumonia. Basically, pneumonia is a generic term that refers to a number of causes for lung inflammations and infections.
While most of these are caused by bacteria or viruses, you can also contract the disease by swallowing foreign objects or substances, including vomit.
However, walking pneumonia is specifically caused by an organism known as the mycoplasma. This organism causes an infection in the lungs which results in the symptoms associated with the disease.
What separates the walking variation from other forms of pneumonia is that even if this illness goes untreated, the patient is unlikely to see significant health deterioration that would require hospitalization.
What Symptoms are Associated with Walking Pneumonia?
If you are around someone who has walking pneumonia, you stand a good chance of contracting the disease yourself. That’s because it is transmitted through contaminated airborne droplets emitted when the ill person coughs or sneezes.
If you come in contact with these droplets, you will probably begin to exhibit symptoms yourself within four weeks.
Normally, symptoms will start showing up gradually. These symptoms include headaches, fevers, excessive sweating and chills, chest pain, a sore throat, a dry cough, nausea, and sometimes vomiting.
In some cases of walking pneumonia, you may also experience skin rashes, eye pain, muscle aches, fatigue, ear aches, and rapid breathing.
Most people who suffer from walking pneumonia also report experiencing worsening of their symptoms at night. This is not unusual because part of the problem is a build-up of fluid in the lungs. When you are lying down as you do to sleep, the fluid build-up becomes worse and the symptoms are normally aggravated.
How is Walking Pneumonia Treated?
The most common treatment for walking pneumonia is a course of antibiotics, such as erythromycin or tetracyclines. This type of pneumonia does not usually require hospitalization to treat.
Instead, you’ll start to feel an improvement in your condition thanks to the antibiotics within about a week. Your physician may also recommend treating some of the symptoms with cough suppressants and oral analgesics.