Walking Pneumonia Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

Contents
  1. Walking Pneumonia
  2. What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia?
  3. How Is Walking Pneumonia Diagnosed?
  4. How Is Walking Pneumonia Treated?
  5. How Can I Help My Child Feel Better?
  6. Pneumonia 101: What You Need to Know
  7. Community-Acquired Pneumonia
  8. Healthcare-Associated Pneumonia
  9. Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia
  10. Aspiration Pneumonia
  11. Opportunistic Infection
  12. What’s the Difference Between Walking Pneumonia and Regular Pneumonia?
  13. How do you catch walking pneumonia?
  14. So how’s that different that regular pneumonia?
  15. How are walking pneumonia and regular pneumonia treated?
  16. Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Pneumonia
  17. What is Pneumonia?
  18. Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia 
  19. Treating Pneumonia
  20. Walking Pneumonia Symptoms, Treatment, Signs, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention
  21. What is walking pneumonia?
  22. Who gets walking pneumonia and how is it spread?
  23. What are the symptoms of walking pneumonia?
  24. How does the doctor know if I have walking pneumonia?
  25. How is walking pneumonia treated?
  26. If I've had walking pneumonia, can I get it again?
  27. Can walking pneumonia be prevented?
  28. Atypical (Walking) Pneumonia: Treatment & Management
  29. Are there other types of atypical pneumonias?
  30. How is walking pneumonia different from “regular” pneumonia?
  31. How common is walking pneumonia?
  32. Is walking pneumonia contagious? If so, how is it spread and who is most at risk?
  33. How long am I contagious with walking pneumonia?
  34. What causes walking pneumonia?
  35. What are the symptoms of walking pneumonia?
  36. References
  37. Lung & Respiratory Infections
  38. Signs and Symptoms
  39. Diagnosis
  40. Treatment
  41. Home Health
  42. Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
  43. What causes pneumonia?
  44. Symptoms of pneumonia
  45. Diagnosis and treatment
  46. Ways to avoid getting pneumonia

Walking Pneumonia

Walking Pneumonia Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

It can seem kids pick up one bug after another. One week it's a runny nose, the next a sore throat, or both. Most of the time, these bugs only last for about a week. But those that last longer can sometimes turn into walking pneumonia.

Walking pneumonia, or atypical pneumonia, is a less serious form of the lung infection pneumonia. It's caused by Mycoplasma , and causes cold- symptoms, a low-grade fever, and a hacking cough.

Most kids with this form of pneumonia will not feel sick enough to stay at home — hence, the name “walking” pneumonia. But even a child who feels fine needs to stay at home for a few days until antibiotic treatment kicks in and symptoms improve.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia?

Colds that last longer than 7 to 10 days or respiratory illnesses respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can develop into walking pneumonia. Symptoms can come on suddenly or take longer to appear. Those that start slowly tend to be more severe.

Here's what to look for:

  • a fever of 101°F (38.5°C) or below
  • headache, chills, sore throat, and other cold or flu- symptoms
  • fast breathing or breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
  • labored breathing that makes the rib muscles retract (when muscles under the ribcage or between ribs draw inward with each breath)
  • hacking cough
  • ear pain
  • chest pain or stomach pain
  • malaise (feeling of discomfort)
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite (in older kids) or poor feeding (in infants)
  • rash
  • joint pain

Symptoms usually depend on where the infection is concentrated. A child whose infection is in the top or middle part of the lungs will probably have labored breathing. Another whose infection is in the lower part of the lungs (near the belly) may have no breathing problems, but may have an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting.

How Is Walking Pneumonia Diagnosed?

Walking pneumonia is usually diagnosed through a physical examination. The doctor will check your child's breathing and listen for a hallmark crackling sound that often indicates walking pneumonia.

If needed, a chest X-ray or tests of mucus samples from the throat or nose might be done to confirm the diagnosis.

How Is Walking Pneumonia Treated?

Antibiotics are an effective treatment for walking pneumonia. A 5- to 10-day course of oral antibiotics is usually recommended. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, make sure your child takes them on schedule for as long as directed to recover more quickly.

Once on antibiotics, your child has a minimal risk of passing the illness on to other family members. But encourage everyone in your household to wash their hands well and often.

Don't let your child share drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels, or toothbrushes. Wash your hands after touching any used tissues. Also make sure that your kids are up to date on their immunizations to help protect them from other infections.

How Can I Help My Child Feel Better?

Your child should drink fluids throughout the day, especially if he or she has a fever. Ask the doctor before you use a medicine to treat a cough. Cough suppressants stop the lungs from clearing mucus, which might not be helpful for lung infections walking pneumonia.

If your child has chest pain, try placing a heating pad or warm compress on the area. Take your child's temperature at least once each morning and each evening. Call the doctor if it goes above 102°F (38.9°C) in an older infant or child, or above 100.4°F (38°C) in an infant under 6 months of age.

With treatment, most types of bacterial pneumonia go away within 1 to 2 weeks. Coughing can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to stop.

Source: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/walking-pneumonia.html

Pneumonia 101: What You Need to Know

Walking Pneumonia Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

The severity of the infection depends on many factors, including your age and overall health.

“A lot of treatment aspects, as well as outcome, depend on the person, as well as the type of pneumonia they have,” says Dr. Barron. “Sometimes you’ll be fine just resting, but if you have things trouble breathing, you should get to a doctor right away.”

Knowing the cause of a lung infection is important for determining which type of pneumonia you have, how you got it, and how to treat it.

Here's what you need to know about the different types of pneumonia:

Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Also known as CAP, this is the most common form of pneumonia because you can catch it in public places, such as at school or work. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. (4)

You can also develop CAP after you get a common viral infection, such as a cold or the flu.

The illness ranges from mild to serious and, if left untreated, can lead to respiratory failure or death.

Bacterial CAP is usually more serious than other types and is more common among adults. Atypical pneumonia, often called walking pneumonia, is a milder form.

Viral and bacterial pneumonia share some common signs, but doctors can often distinguish between them by a patient’s symptoms.

Various types of bacteria are responsible for the illness. In most cases, the bacteria will enter the lung during inhalation, but it can also go through the bloodstream if other parts of the body are infected.

Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcal pneumonia, can be treated with antibiotics. But according to the CDC, many types of bacteria, including some S. pneumoniae (pneumococcus), are resistant to those antibiotics, which can lead to treatment failures. Pneumococcal pneumonia causes up to 175,000 hospital admissions a year in the United States. (5)

You can also have a pneumococcal infection without having pneumonia. For example, pneumococcal infections also cause more than three million ear infections in children every year.

Risk factors for bacterial CAP include:

Depending on how sick you are and whether or not you have any other health conditions, your doctor may treat you for bacterial pneumonia with antibiotics either at home or in the hospital.

Viral CAP, particularly the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), is the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than two years old. (6)

Although viral pneumonia is generally less severe than bacterial pneumonia, viral infections caused by certain flu viruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), can be very serious.

Antibiotics are ineffective against viral pneumonia. Your doctor will most ly treat the symptoms — fever, cough, and dehydration.

You or your child may need to be hospitalized if your viral pneumonia symptoms become severe.

Fungal CAP is most common in people with an underlying health problem or a weakened immune system, including those with HIV or AIDS and people undergoing treatment for cancer. It's treated with antibiotics or antifungal medication. (7)

Getting a vaccination against pneumococcal pneumonia reduces your risk for CAP.

Healthcare-Associated Pneumonia

This refers to an infection that develops in someone being cared for in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital or nursing home. If you've been hospitalized or admitted into a long-term nursing or rehab facility, you may be at risk for more deadly forms of pneumonia. (8)

Symptoms of this type of pneumonia are more serious and may include shortness of breath, high fever, and chest pain.

Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia

As the name suggests, this develops during a hospital stay for a different health problem. People who are on machines to help them breathe are particularly prone to developing hospital-acquired pneumonia.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia usually needs to be treated in the hospital with intravenous antibiotics.

Aspiration Pneumonia

This can develop after a person inhales food, liquid, gases, or dust.

A strong gag reflex or cough will usually prevent aspiration pneumonia, but you may be at risk if you have a hard time swallowing or have a decreased level of alertness.

A form of aspiration pneumonia, chemical- or toxin-related pneumonia is caused by the inhalation of chemical fumes, as through an exposure to a mix of ammonia and bleach, or in the breathing in of kerosene or some other noxious chemical.

This type of pneumonia can also occur in older people with poor swallowing mechanisms, such as stroke victims, who actually can inhale the acidic contents of their stomachs, causing aspiration pneumonia.

This causes inflammation without bacterial infection. These pneumonias can sometimes be difficult to treat, especially because the patients are sicker to begin with.

Once your lungs have been irritated by breathing in food or stomach contents, a bacterial infection can develop.

Some conditions that may put you at risk for aspiration pneumonia include:

Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia include cough, increased sputum, fever, confusion, and shortness of breath.

Treatment may include breathing assistance and intravenous antibiotics given in the hospital.

You can prevent complications by not eating or drinking before surgery, working with a therapist to learn how to swallow without aspirating, and avoiding heavy use of alcohol.

Opportunistic Infection

Finally, pneumonia that develops in people with a weakened immune system is often referred to as an opportunistic infection.

You're more at risk for this type of pneumonia if you have a chronic lung disease, have HIV or AIDS, or have had an organ transplant.

Source: https://www.everydayhealth.com/pneumonia/guide/

What’s the Difference Between Walking Pneumonia and Regular Pneumonia?

Walking Pneumonia Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

When you have cold- symptoms — headache, runny nose, cough and a sore throat — you ly slow down a bit, thinking you can beat it in a few days. But when the symptoms linger or worsen — not enough to knock you off your feet, but enough so that you can’t ignore them — you may have walking pneumonia.

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Walking pneumonia (AKA atypical pneumonia) strikes about 2 million people in the United States each year. It tends to be less serious than traditional pneumonia, which hospitalizes about 1 million people and causes 50,000 deaths each year. In fact, you can be up and walking around, unaware that you have this type of pneumonia — that’s how it got its name.

But walking pneumonia can still leave you feeling lousy. And it’s highly contagious. Here, pulmonologist Neal Chaisson, MD, explains how you can end up with this common respiratory infection and how it differs from regular pneumonia.

How do you catch walking pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia is often caused by bacteria or viruses. Most commonly a bacteria called mycoplasma pneumoniae is responsible for the infection. The infection is often caused by inhaling airborne droplets of water that are contaminated with the bacteria or virus when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These bacteria and viruses then infect your nose, throat, windpipe and lungs.

That’s why children and younger adults develop it most often — the infection spreads easily in crowded environments schools and college dormitories. But walking pneumonia can also hit nursing homes. 

You’ll usually start feeling symptoms within two weeks of exposure, but the bacteria can incubate for up to a month — and you’re contagious during that incubation period. Over about four days, the symptoms gradually worsen and include:

  • Sore throat.
  • Fever.
  • Persistent, dry cough.
  • Increased mucus.
  • Headaches.
  • Chest pain when breathing.
  • Violent cough.
  • Fatigue.

So how’s that different that regular pneumonia?

Pneumonia is generally a more serious lung infection. It can also be caused by bacteria or viruses (or rarely, fungi).

No matter the cause, the infection causes your immune system to fill the air sacs in the lungs with mucus, pus, and other fluids. This makes it difficult for oxygen to reach your blood.

Though the symptoms of bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia aren’t exactly the same, Dr. Chaisson says both tend to cause shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and feeling more tired than usual.

How are walking pneumonia and regular pneumonia treated?

For walking pneumonia, some doctors may evaluate your symptoms, assume that’s what you have and prescribe an antibiotic. But Dr. Chaisson doesn’t recommend that approach.

“The vast majority of patients with these symptoms have something viral, such as an upper respiratory infection, sinus infection or bronchitis,” he explains.

Such illnesses are treated with time, rest and symptom-relieving medication.

Dr. Chaisson cautions that antibiotic overuse can lead to antibiotic resistance and an outbreak of Clostridium difficile. C. difficile, an intestinal infection that causes diarrhea and abdominal pain, is difficult to treat and can lead to death — particularly in elderly patients.

That said, if your symptoms linger for longer than a few days or if you have a chronic health issue ( emphysema, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or heart disease), it’s best to visit your doctor to see if you might have walking pneumonia.

Although walking pneumonia may go away on its own, antibiotics may be necessary. Walking pneumonia can be confirmed by a chest X-ray, which will show an area of infection in the lung.

Regular pneumonia, on the other hand, is often more severe, Dr. Chaisson says. “Regular pneumonia usually warrants antibiotics and sometimes patients are hospitalized because they require oxygen, IV fluids, and breathing treatments,” he says.

“No matter what type of pneumonia you have ― whether walking pneumonia or a more serious form ― it’s important not to try to rush your recovery,” Dr. Chaisson says. “Don’t push yourself too hard. Expect that it can take up to a few weeks until you’re up and running at full speed again.” 

Source: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-cant-shake-that-cold-tips-on-walking-pneumonia/

Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Pneumonia

Walking Pneumonia Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

The weather is cold and the runny noses and coughing have started. When I worked in primary care pediatrics, I cared for many children who had a runny noses, coughing, congestion and fever.

Most of the time, children that had viral illnesses in the upper respiratory tract and they got better quickly with supportive care.

What about an infection in the lower respiratory tract? This is called pneumonia, which is when fluid and pus fill the lungs. The condition can be more serious than a regular cold.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in either one or both lungs. It can be caused most commonly by viruses or bacteria, but can also be caused by fungi or parasites.

It is usually diagnosed with a combination of a physical exam and a chest x-ray. Pneumonia often causes “crackly” and other abnormal chest sounds when you listen to the lungs with a stethoscope.

Your child’s pediatrician may also order a sputum (mucous) culture or blood tests.

You may have heard the term, “walking pneumonia?” This is a specific type of pneumonia generally caused by the “mycoplasma” bacteria.

This form of pneumonia is a lesser severe form and children tend to feel well enough to attend school or play despite having a lung infection.

If you think your child may have “walking pneumonia” they should still be evaluated by their doctor and stay home from school.

One of the symptoms of pneumonia is low-grade or high fever.

Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia 

Pneumonia usually starts as an upper respiratory tract infection (in the nose and throat) and a few days later, develops into a lower respiratory tract infection in the lungs.

Symptoms depend on the age of the child and the agent causing the pneumonia (virus vs. bacteria).

Bacterial pneumonia has a quick onset with a high fever and viral pneumonia develops more gradually and usually looks less serious. Symptoms of pneumonia commonly include a combination of the following:

  • Abdominal pain or vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Congestion with a lot of mucous
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade or high fevers (maybe with chills or body aches)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Runny nose
  • Wheezing or other type of “funny” sounding breathing

Treating Pneumonia

If your child gets bacterial pneumonia, they’ll be prescribed antibiotics to be taken for one to two weeks. If your child has viral pneumonia, antibiotics will not be prescribed because they don’t work on viruses and antiviral medications are infrequently used in children.

Most of the time viral infections need to “run their own course” or go away on their own with supportive therapies alone (controlling fever or pain, giving fluids, keeping the child comfortable). It is sometimes difficult to determine viral from bacterial pneumonia so doctors may opt to treat with antibiotics.

Your child’s pediatrician may recommend other therapies such as,

  • Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen
  • Breathing treatments such as nebulized breathing, oral steroids or inhalers

Some children require hospitalization with more severe forms of pneumonia. Hospitalized children with pneumonia may require supplemental oxygen, IV antibiotics and medication and frequent breathing treatments.

During the flu season it’s important to recognize whether your child has pneumonia and other illness the flu. This blog post will help. I encourage you to share it with other parents and caregivers. My next RN Remedies blog post will cover pneumonia prevention and how to care for a child with pneumonia. Keep an eye out for it!

Source: https://www.chla.org/blog/rn-remedies/signs-symptoms-and-treatment-pneumonia

Walking Pneumonia Symptoms, Treatment, Signs, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention

Walking Pneumonia Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

“Walking pneumonia” sounds it could be a character in a sci-fi horror flick. Although this form of infectious pneumonia can make you miserable, it's actually the least scary kind of pneumonia.

That's because it's a mild pneumonia and does not generally require hospitalization. In fact, you could have walking pneumonia and not even know it.

Here is information about what causes this illness, how it spreads, and what you can do to avoid it.

What is walking pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia is a non-medical term to describe a mild case of pneumonia. It can also be called atypical pneumonia because the disease is different from more serious cases of pneumonia caused by typical bacteria.

Pneumonia is a disease of the lungs that often results from a lung infection. Lots of things can cause pneumonia, including:

  • bacteria
  • viruses
  • fungi
  • other infectious agents, such as mycoplasma
  • chemicals
  • inhaled food

Walking pneumonia is often the result of a lung infection from a bacterial microorganism called Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

People who have walking pneumonia are seldom confined to bed or need to be hospitalized. Some may even feel well enough go to work and carry on with other regular routines, just as they might with a cold.

Who gets walking pneumonia and how is it spread?

Anyone at any age can get walking pneumonia. Walking pneumonia from mycoplasma is most common, though, in older children and adults younger than 40.

People who live and work in crowded places, such as schools, homeless shelters, and prisons have a higher risk of contracting the disease. That's because walking pneumonia is contagious. It's spread when someone comes in contact with droplets from the nose and throat of someone who has it. That commonly happens when the person with walking pneumonia sneezes or coughs.

Cases of walking pneumonia are most common in the late summer and fall. But infections can occur with no particular pattern throughout the year. And, even though the disease is contagious, it spreads slowly. The contagious period in most cases lasts less than 10 days.

Researchers also think it takes prolonged close contact with an infected person for someone else to develop walking pneumonia; still, there are widespread outbreaks every four to eight years.

When those outbreaks occur, walking pneumonia can account for as many as one every two cases of pneumonia.

What are the symptoms of walking pneumonia?

Symptoms generally appear 15 to 25 days after exposure to the mycoplasma and develop slowly over a period of two to four days. Symptoms include:

Some people with walking pneumonia may also have an ear infection, anemia, or a skin rash.

How does the doctor know if I have walking pneumonia?

Some cases of walking pneumonia are never diagnosed because people don't seek medical help.

If you do go to the doctor, the diagnosis will depend on your medical history and the results of a physical exam. The doctor will start by asking you about your symptoms and how long you have had them.

The doctor may also ask you about where you work and whether anyone at home or at work is also sick.

During the physical, the doctor will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. The doctor may also ask for a chest X-ray and a blood test. There is a blood test that can specifically identify a mycoplasma infection.

It's seldom done, though, unless there is a widespread outbreak that's being studied. Another blood test is used that identifies the increased presence of certain immune substances called cold agglutinins.

This test won't confirm that you have walking pneumonia, but it can suggest it.

How is walking pneumonia treated?

Walking pneumonia is generally treated with antibiotics. Mild infections are often not treated because they tend to clear on their own. With treatment, most people begin to feel better within a few days.

Many over-the-counter medicines used for colds and flus may not help with complete relief of symptoms of walking pneumonia. It's important to talk with your doctor about any medicines you are taking or planning to take. It's also important to drink plenty of fluids and to give yourself time to rest.

If I've had walking pneumonia, can I get it again?

There is a certain level of immunity that occurs after someone has a case of walking pneumonia. It isn't permanent, though, and it's unclear how long it lasts. So you could at some point develop walking pneumonia again. When it does recur, it may be milder.

Can walking pneumonia be prevented?

There is no vaccine for mycoplasma infections, so there is no way to prevent it. There are things you can do, though, to reduce your chances of getting it:

  • Exercise, eat a well-balanced diet, and get adequate sleep. Exercise, rest, and proper nutrition help keep your body healthy. A healthy body is better able to resist infection.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent germs from spreading.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking damages the lungs, and damaged lungs are more susceptible to infection.
  • Cover your mouth with your sleeve when you cough or sneeze. And, urge others to do the same. Coughing and sneezing are the primary ways infectious agents are spread.

WebMD Medical Reference

What is pneumonia? See Answer

Source: https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=144228

Atypical (Walking) Pneumonia: Treatment & Management

Walking Pneumonia Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

“Walking” pneumonia is a mild form of pneumonia (an infection of the lungs). This non-medical term has become a popular description because you may feel well enough to be walking around, carrying out your daily tasks and not even realize you have pneumonia.

Most of the time, walking pneumonia is caused by an atypical bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which can live and grow in the nose, throat, windpipe (trachea) and lungs (your respiratory tract). It can be treated with antibiotics.

Scientists call walking pneumonia caused by mycoplasma “atypical” because of the unique features of the bacteria itself. Several factors that make it atypical include:

  • Milder symptoms
  • Natural resistance to medicines that would normally treat bacterial infections
  • Often mistaken for a virus because they lack the typical cell structure of other bacteria

Are there other types of atypical pneumonias?

Yes. Other types of atypical pneumonia include:

  • Chlamydia pneumonia
  • Legionella pneumonia (Legionnaires’ disease)

How is walking pneumonia different from “regular” pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia differs from typical pneumonia in several ways, including:

  • Walking pneumonia is a milder form of pneumonia.
  • Walking pneumonia usually does not require bed rest or hospitalization.
  • Walking pneumonia is usually caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Typical pneumonia is most commonly caused by _Streptococcus _pneumonia or influenza (flu) virus or rhinovirus.

How common is walking pneumonia?

Mycoplasma pneumoniae accounts for 10 to 40 percent of the cases of community-acquired pneumonia (pneumonia contracted outside a healthcare setting).

Walking pneumonia can occur at any time of the year although it occurs most often in the fall and winter.

Is walking pneumonia contagious? If so, how is it spread and who is most at risk?

Yes, walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae is contagious (spread through person-to-person contact). When an infected person coughs or sneezes, tiny droplets containing the bacteria become airborne and can be inhaled by others who are nearby.

The infection can be easily spread in crowded or shared living spaces such as homes, schools, dormitories and nursing homes. It tends to affect younger adults and school-aged children more than older adults.

The risk of getting more severe pneumonia is even higher among those who have existing respiratory conditions such as:

How long am I contagious with walking pneumonia?

If you have walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, you can be considered contagious from two to up to four weeks before symptoms appear (called the incubation period). During this time, you will not realize you are contagious and spreading pneumonia. Once the symptoms start, you remain contagious until the symptoms end.

What causes walking pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia is most commonly caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria.

What are the symptoms of walking pneumonia?

Symptoms of walking pneumonia include:

  • Sore throat (pharyngitis)
  • Feeling tired (fatigue)
  • Chest pain
  • Mild chills
  • Low-grade fever
  • Persistent cough that can be dry or produce mucus
  • Sneezing
  • Headache

The symptoms of walking pneumonia may come on slowly, beginning one to four weeks after exposure. During the later stages of the illness, symptoms may worsen, the fever may become higher, and coughing may bring up discolored phlegm (mucus).

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/10/2019.

References

Get useful, helpful and relevant health + wellness information enews

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15744-pneumonia-atypical-walking-pneumonia

Lung & Respiratory Infections

Walking Pneumonia Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

During the school year, it can seem kids pick up one bug after another. One week it’s a runny nose, the next a sore throat, or both. Most of the time, these bugs only last for about a week. But those that linger on for longer can sometimes turn into walking pneumonia.

Walking pneumonia, or atypical pneumonia, is a less serious form of the lung infection pneumonia. It’s caused by Mycoplasma bacteria, which causes cold- symptoms in addition to a low-grade fever and a hacking cough.

Most kids with this form of pneumonia will not feel sick enough to stay at home — hence, the name “walking” pneumonia — and usually will feel well enough to go to school. But even a child who feels fine needs to stay at home for a few days until antibiotic treatment kicks in and symptoms improve.

Signs and Symptoms

Colds that last longer than 7 to 10 days or respiratory illnesses respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can develop into walking pneumonia. Symptoms can come on suddenly or take longer to appear. Those that have a slow onset tend to be more severe.

Here’s what to look for:

  • low-grade fever of 101ºF (38.5ºC) or below
  • headache, chills, sore throat, and other cold or flu- symptoms
  • rapid breathing or breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
  • labored breathing that makes the rib muscles retract (when muscles under the ribcage or between ribs draw inward with each breath)
  • hacking cough
  • chest pain or stomach pain
  • malaise (feeling of discomfort)
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite (in older kids) or poor feeding (in infants)

Symptoms usually depend on where in the body the infection is concentrated. A child whose infection is in the top or middle part of the lungs will probably have labored breathing. Another whose infection is concentrated in the lower part of the lungs (near the abdomen) may not have breathing problems at all, but may have an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting.

Diagnosis

Walking pneumonia is usually diagnosed through a physical examination. The doctor will monitor your child’s breathing and listen for a hallmark crackling sound that often indicates walking pneumonia.

If pneumonia is suspected, a chest X-ray or bacterial culture of mucus from the throat or nose might be done to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Antibiotics are an effective treatment for walking pneumonia. A 7- to 10-day course of oral antibiotics is usually recommended. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, make sure your child takes them on schedule for as long as directed to recover more quickly.

Once on antibiotics, your child has a minimal risk of passing the illness on to other family members, but encourage everyone in your household to wash their hands frequently and correctly (for at least 20 seconds, rubbing hands together with soap and warm water).

Don’t let your child share drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels, or toothbrushes, and remind everyone to wash their hands after touching any used tissues. Also make sure that your kids are up to date on their immunizations to help protect them from other infections.

Home Health

While recovering from walking pneumonia, your child should drink fluids throughout the day to flush the system and rid the body of toxins (especially if he or she has a fever). Ask the doctor before you use a medicine to treat a cough because cough suppressants stop the lungs from clearing mucus, which may not always be helpful for lung infections walking pneumonia.

If your child has chest pain, try placing a heating pad or warm compress on the chest area. Take your child’s temperature at least once each morning and each evening, and call the doctor if it goes above 102ºF (38.9ºC) in an older infant or child, or above 100.4ºF (38ºC) in an infant under 6 months of age.

With treatment, most types of bacterial pneumonia go away within 1 to 2 weeks. However, walking pneumonia can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to resolve completely.

Reviewed by: Nicole A. Green, MD
Date reviewed: May 2013

Note: All information on KidsHealth is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995 – 2020 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.rchsd.org/health-articles/walking-pneumonia/

Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Walking Pneumonia Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

Pneumonia is a broad term for a common lung infection typically caused by bacteria or viruses. The illness can also be a complication of the flu. 

When something bacteria, for example, gets into lung tissue, it causes an inflammatory response, which leads to the production of mucus, said Dr. Maureen Dziura, a lung specialist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. An accumulation of mucus can trigger some symptoms of pneumonia, such as a cough, shortness of breath, fever and chills, she said.

The illness can be mild, which is known as walking pneumonia, or it can be serious if the symptoms are severe, and may require hospitalization, Dziura said. Bacterial pneumonia is the most common form of the illness and also tends to be the most serious type. 

With pneumonia, the alveoli, or air sacs, in one or both lungs become inflamed and fill with fluid. This makes it difficult for oxygen to reach the bloodstream. (When both lungs are infected, it's called double pneumonia.)

More than 250,000 people have to seek care in a hospital for pneumonia each year in the United States, and about 50,000 Americans die annually from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What causes pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. However, bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia in adults, and the most frequent culprit is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Walking pneumonia is usually caused by a bacterium called Mycoplasma pneumoniae. 

Viruses, such as influenza (flu) virus and rhinovirus, can also lead to pneumonia. Other viral causes include respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is a common cause of pneumonia in babies and young children, and human metapneumovirus, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 

One example of a fungal cause of pneumonia is Pneumocystis jirovecii, which causes a serious life-threatening infection typically found in people with weak immune systems, such as those with HIV and AIDS. (This illness was previously called Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.)

Pneumonia can happen any time of year, but more cases tend to occur in winter when the flu season takes off, Dziura said. Flu can cause viral pneumonia and can weaken immune defenses, which increases the risk of developing a secondary bacterial pneumonia, she explained. 

People of all ages can get pneumonia, but those most at risk for the lung infection are children under age 5, adults 65 and over, cigarette smokers and people with other health problems or weak immune systems, such as chronic lung problems, heart failure, diabetes and stroke. 

Viral and bacterial forms of pneumonia can typically spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, which releases droplets containing bacteria or viruses into the air that other people can breathe in or touch on contaminated surfaces.

Most people who spend only a short amount of time with an infected person will not become ill, but there are some bacterial types of pneumonia that can spread quickly in people who live or work in crowded settings, such as college dorms, military barracks or nursing homes. 

Symptoms of pneumonia

The symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to life-threatening. A person with walking pneumonia may feel weak and fatigued, and have a low-level cough, but is still able to attend work or school, Dziura said. A more serious infection causes a dangerously high fever, shortness of breath, blueness of the lips due to a lack of oxygen in the blood and mental confusion. 

With some forms of pneumonia, a person may cough up greenish or yellow mucus, or possibly bloody mucus (but pneumonia doesn't always cause you cough up mucus). According to the American Lung Association, symptoms of pneumonia may include: 

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of energy and fatigue
  • Confusion, especially in older people
  • Headache

A doctor may listen to a patient's lungs for a crackling sound that when the patient breathes, which would indicate an infection. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Diagnosis and treatment

Pneumonia is a very common illness but can sometimes be tricky to diagnose because the symptoms are often similar to having a cold. To diagnose pneumonia, a doctor will use a stethoscope to listen for a crackling sound in the lungs when the patient breathes in, Dziura said. A chest X-ray can show the extent of inflammation in the lungs. 

Patients may also be asked for a sputum (a mixture of saliva and mucus) sample that gets examined to identify the strain of bacteria causing pneumonia, which helps doctors to tailor antibiotic treatment, Dziura said. 

In at least 50% of cases, the specific bacteria causing pneumonia can't be identified, Dziura said. So, the antibiotic given is the most common bacterial causes of pneumonia. 

People with bacterial pneumonia usually start feeling better within 48 hours after receiving antibiotics, but a course of antibiotics is typically taken for five to 10 days, Dziura said. However, the cough caused by pneumonia can linger for up to three months after treatment has ended because of residual inflammation in the lungs that takes longer to subside, she said.

Antibiotics won't help treat viral pneumonia. Its symptoms, such as fever and cough, are managed with rest, aspirin, cough medicine and drinking plenty of liquids. Experts also recommend running a humidifier to keep the air moist, which helps loosen excess phlegm in the lungs and sinuses.

For some older adults and people with chronic lung problems or weak immune systems, pneumonia can quickly become life-threatening.

People may experience serious complications as a result of the infection, such as trouble breathing in enough oxygen; a build-up of fluid around the lungs; or sepsis, a condition where there is uncontrolled inflammation in the body, which may lead to widespread organ failure.

Ways to avoid getting pneumonia

One of the keys to preventing the spread of pneumonia is to avoid close contact with people known to be infected with colds and flu, Dziura said. Other ways to prevent the illness include: 

  • Getting vaccinated: A yearly flu shot can help prevent influenza and is also good protection against pneumonia. There is also a vaccine to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common form of bacterial pneumonia. This vaccine is recommended for children under age 2 as well as for adults 65 or older. The shot is also advised for children and adults at increased risk for pneumonia because they have other health conditions or weakened immune systems. 
  • Keeping hands and surfaces clean: Wash hands frequently— after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, changing a diaper, preparing foods or before eating. Disinfect surfaces touched often, such as faucets, doorknobs, phones, toys and light switches. 
  • Quitting smoking. Cigarette smokers are at increased risk for pneumonia because tobacco damages the lungs' ability to fight infections. That's why smokers are advised to get the pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Maintaining a strong immune system. Eating a healthy diet, plus regular exercise and sufficient sleep, can all protect against getting sick. 

Additional resources: 

Source: https://www.livescience.com/pneumonia.html

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