Walking pneumonia is a mild type of pneumonia, which does not require bed rest or high dosage of medicines for its cure. This condition is not very easy to diagnose, because its symptoms mimic those of common cold. Let’s find out more about walking pneumonia symptoms in adults.
Walking pneumonia may sound alarming, however, it is not something to be worried about! People are aware of pneumonia, but very few people are acquainted with the term ‘walking pneumonia’. The term walking pneumonia is used to describe a mild version of pneumonia, caused by the organism mycoplasma pneumoniae. Recently, another causative organism chlamydia pneumoniae has been identified that conduces to similar infections. Both Mycoplasma and Chlamydia are observed to affect young adults. Nevertheless, even viruses can cause walking pneumonia.
Walking pneumonia is a very mild lung infection, which does not demand rest in order to subside. Hence, this condition has acquired its riveting name ‘Walking pneumonia’! Infected individuals can continue walking and perform routine activities, even after contracting this infection. This means the patient does not require admission for hospital care, and the body manages to counter the infection without bed rest and aggressive medical treatment. Usually people suffering from common cold become susceptible to attack by these bacteria.
But the question propping up next is, how do we identify walking pneumonia? Walking pneumonia symptoms bear semblance to influenza symptoms, which makes their identification cumbersome. However, observing the signs and symptoms of walking pneumonia in adults may assist in the identification of this mild strain of pneumonia.
Walking pneumonia symptoms in adults, appear about 2 to 3 weeks, after a person has been exposed to the bacterium: mycoplasma pneumoniae. Then the symptoms will develop gradually, over the next 2 to 3 days. The kind of symptoms appearing, will depend on the area of the body affected by the microorganism. Moreover, the symptoms also vary from one person to another, depending on the area affected. The persistence of these symptoms may vary from a few days, to more than a month without treatment.
Dry cough (worse at night)
Shortness of breath
Muscle and joint stiffness
Chills or sweating
Skin rash (including erythema multiforme)
Simply based on the signs of walking pneumonia in adults, the doctor will not be able to diagnose walking pneumonia. This is simply because the signs appear a lot like that of common cold. The semblance of walking pneumonia symptoms in adults to influenza symptoms, often leads to non-identification of walking pneumonia for the initial 1 to 3 weeks after its onset. Common cold symptoms tend to subside in 7 to 10 days, however, walking pneumonia worsens as time passes.
A chest X-ray and blood test are required for determining whether a person has walking pneumonia or not. Physicians usually prescribe oral antibiotics such as erythromycin, azithromycin, clarithromycin, and tetracycline to patients with walking pneumonia, when the condition does not subside on its own. In grave cases, when the walking pneumonia symptoms in adults are severe, intravenous antibiotics are prescribed. However, even in the presence of treatment, a dry hacking cough persists, till damaged lung tissues heal.
Although walking pneumonia allows you to carry out your daily chores, it’s important to note that walking pneumonia is contagious, and infected individuals are potential carriers of the disease-causing organisms. Infected individuals are contagious for less than 20 days. Walking pneumonia is spread via contact with droplets from coughs and sneezes of infected individuals. It is believed that prolonged close contact with infected individuals is responsible for its transmission. Thus, it is important to prevent the transmission of this condition by maintaining proper hygiene and precautions!
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.