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Walking Pneumonia

What is Walking Pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia refers to a not so severe form of lung problem. This is also known as Mycoplasma infection or the atypical pneumonia. This condition is primarily caused by Mycoplasma pneumonia bacteria. This condition does not need a person to be hospitalized. This does not entail harm to the client nor to other people for a person is permitted to move around even though he or she is suffering from walking pneumonia. According to epidemiological reports, those who suffer from this condition are about 2 million of the total population in the United States yearly. The most affected group of people of walking pneumonia is the young, those whose ages are 5 to 16 years.

walking pneumonia pathophysiology

Picture 1 – pathophysiology of walking pneumonia

Walking Pneumonia Symptoms & Signs

A person affected of walking pneumonia is not greatly affected unless complications have arisen. The affected do not usually provide noticeable symptoms most especially when a person was in the initial stage of the infectious process. Usually, a person affected of walking pneumonia would take about 1 to 3 weeks before it shows up. The following are the common manifestations of walking pneumonia:

  1. Tiredness. There is sudden decrease in the energy level.
  2. Colds and chills may be present. Slight or low-grade fever may also be present.
  3. Throat discomfort. This may either be mild or moderate in severity.
  4. Headache.
  5. Runny nose.
  6. Cough with soreness.
  7. Easy fatigability.
  8. Abdominal discomfort is noted.
symptoms & signs walking pneumonia

Picture 2 – Symptoms & Signs of walking pneumonia

Walking Pneumonia Causes

Walking pneumonia is caused by several agents or organisms that originate as bacteria, viruses, fungi, chemicals and other infectious agents:

  1. Mycoplasma pneumonia. This is the most common cause of walking pneumonia. This usually affects the young ones.
  2. Chlamydia spp. These also cause for mild form of pneumonia. Symptoms are also not that severe for it effect is not that grave.
  3. Viral agents. This causative agent may be respiratory syncytial virus, influenza A and B and may also be measles.


The most typical diagnostic examination for people suffering from pneumonia is a chest x-ray. This is most often practiced as the condition is quite observable in chest radiographs. What is observed from the result would be infiltration of the bronchus region. The affectation of the condition is mostly at the lower lobe, as most observed from radiographic results of those with walking pneumonia. But there are also cases where others are affected in different areas or lobes of the lungs.


When the condition has not been controlled and treated accordingly, complications may arise, as rare it may be. When it has come to a point that it’s chronic, complications arise. The complications may include or involve other organs of the body. The ear may become infection. Sinusitis may develop too. Most common complication is bronchitis, infection of the bronchial tubes which are essential in respiration. Since the young are most affected of walking pneumonia, they usually complicate to croup – also known for the symptom of barking cough.

Treatment for Walking Pneumonia

Treatment for walking pneumonia is aimed to relieve the discomfort from the symptoms. The following are the known remedies for walking pneumonia:

  1. Antibiotics. This is basically provided to clients who suffer from walking pneumonia caused by a bacterial agent. Erythromycin, azithromycin, clarithromycin, and tetracycline are the common antibiotics provided to clients.
  2. Provide rest. This condition only presents mild symptoms that it may require simple treatment. Rest is provided to clients in order to attain the energy that the client used to have when not sick.
  3. Increase oral fluid intake. This can relieve any form of discomfort of the respiratory system.
  4. Deep breathing exercises. This can assist the client with the breathing problems and this can relive cough.
  5. Hospitalization. This only comes necessary when the condition has not improved after all the treatment provided for. This may indicate that the patient is suffering from some sort complication.

Is Walking Pneumonia Contagious?

The answer is yes. This can spread from one person to another; even if a person is healthy and most especially when a person is always in contact with the affected. This can be transmitted airborne or can also be in droplet form. When an affected person has secreted the causative agent such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria, a person becomes vulnerable to it. Simply talking to or laughing with the affected person can cause one to contract the respiratory problem.

Walking Pneumonia in Children

This is a common respiratory problem to children as they are the usual victims of the condition. This is most common during school time as the children tend to pass it on from one child to another. This becomes walking pneumonia as the condition can linger for long to the affecter’s body. But this does not place the child to become sick for they tend to go to school without feeling that weak or sick. The symptoms of the condition may take about to linger in the child’s body for seven to ten days.

Apart from the provided symptoms above, kids would experience body malaise, loss of appetite, and even labored breathing.

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