Atypical Signs And Symptoms In Adults
For older adults and people with underlying health conditions, a cough may not be the primary symptom of pneumonia. These people may instead experience atypical signs and symptoms, such as:
- lower-than-normal body temperature
someone develops pneumonia, such as at the hospital, on dialysis, or in long term nursing care, helps doctors differentiate the cause of the infection and devise appropriate treatments.
There Is Now A Pneumonia Vaccine
The Centers for Disease control and Prevention now recommend multiple FDA-approved vaccines for certain strains of pneumonia viruses. The Pneumoccocal conjugate vaccine is recommended for young children under 2 years old, seniors over 65, and anyone in between who is at higher risk for developing pneumonia .
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is recommended also for adults over 65 and anyone with an increased risk based on an existing medical condition, but also for adults over 19 who smoke cigarettes. Pneumonia is a common complication from seasonal influenza virus so experts recommend getting your flu shot before flu season kicks into gear in November. Talk with your doctors office or pharmacist about where to get pneumonia and influenza vaccines near you.
What Should I Tell My Health Care Provider Before I Take This Medicine
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- liver disease
- long exposure to sunlight like working outdoors
- stomach problems like colitis
- an unusual or allergic reaction to doxycycline, tetracycline antibiotics, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
Also Check: How Do I Know That I Have Pneumonia
How Long Do They Last
While walking pneumonia is usually milder than pneumonia, it involves a longer recovery period. It can take about six weeks to fully recover from walking pneumonia. However, most people recover from pneumonia in about a week. Bacterial pneumonia usually starts to improve shortly after starting antibiotics, while viral pneumonia usually starts to improve after about three days.
If you have a weakened immune system or a severe case of pneumonia, the recovery period might be longer.
THE MAIN DIFFERENCE:
While walking pneumonia is milder than pneumonia, it requires a longer recovery period. It can last for up to six weeks, while pneumonia symptoms usually start to improve within a couple of days.
Could Your Persistent Cough Be Walking Pneumonia
You might expect that if you had pneumonia, youd know it. Its reasonable to assume that a severe lung infection would likely stop you in your tracks and cause hard-to-miss symptoms like a wet cough, difficulty breathing, fever and chills.
But if you have some minor cold-like symptoms, such as a low-grade fever, along with a persistent dry, hacking cough that just wont quit, you could actually have a form of the infection called atypical or walking pneumonia that can be mild.
Walking pneumonia can last longer, and you may not feel as sick, as its symptoms are less pronounced. People who have walking pneumonia may think they have a common cold.
Don’t Miss: How To Help With Pneumonia Cough
Symptoms Of Walking Pneumonia
If you have walking pneumonia, you might not feel that bad. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll feel well enough to do your normal routine.
In the beginning stages, walking pneumonia may have no visible symptoms. If there are symptoms, they are typical of having the flu or the common cold. Prominent symptoms can take 15-25 days to appear after you’ve been exposed to the bacteria.
This is called the incubation period. The symptoms are similar in both children and adults. They will usually develop gradually and may last for several days.
What Should I Watch For While Using This Medicine
Tell your doctor or healthcare provider if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.
This medicine may cause serious skin reactions. They can happen weeks to months after starting the medicine. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms with a rash. The rash may be red or purple and then turn into blisters or peeling of the skin. Or, you might notice a red rash with swelling of the face, lips or lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.
Do not treat diarrhea with over the counter products. Contact your doctor if you have diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days or if it is severe and watery.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.
Treatment And Medication Options For Pneumonia
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 youll be fine just resting, but if you have things like trouble breathing, you should get to a doctor right away.
Your doctor will outline a plan that’s specific to you, considering the type of pneumonia you have, the severity of the condition, your age, and your overall health. From there, you’ll know whether you can be treated at home or need to go to the hospital, and whether you require antibiotics.
Crowded Indoor Conditions Increase Your Risk
Generally speaking, young children and teens are at greatest risk for walking pneumonia but anyone could be affected, particularly if they live or work in crowded settings, such as schools, college dorms, military barracks and nursing homes.
Walking pneumonia is spread by droplet particles usually within a few feet of an individual when they cough.
Those recovering from a recent respiratory illness, or those who have a weakened immune system, may also have an increased risk for walking pneumonia. Specifically, any patient that has an underlying lung disease, like asthma, emphysema or COPD and the elderly are at a higher risk for any type of infection, especially pneumonia.
These higher-risk patients are also more likely to have a more severe case of walking pneumonia, which can lead to complications, such as serious pneumonia, asthma attacks, swelling of the brain, kidney problems and certain skin conditions.
You May Like: Pneumonia Can Be Caused By
Whats The Outcome For Someone Who Has Been Diagnosed With Legionnaires Disease
Most cases of Legionnaires disease are successfully treated with antibiotics. Sometimes, however, Legionnaires disease can lead to lung failure or other complications. These complications can be hard to treat. They can even be life-threatening for some people. Because of the potentially serious nature of this disease, many people who get Legionnaires disease need to be treated in a hospital. About 1 in 10 people who get the disease die from complications of their illness.
So Hows That Different Than Regular Pneumonia
Pneumonia is generally a more serious lung infection. It can also be caused by bacteria or viruses .
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 arent exactly the same, Dr. Chaisson says both tend to cause shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and feeling more tired than usual.
Read Also: Does Pneumonia Cause Body Aches
What Are The Causes Of Pneumonia
The table below will help you understand different types of pneumonia and how they are caused. Each type of pneumonia has plenty of causative organisms or mechanisms.
|Type of Pneumonia|
|Tuberculosis, salmonella typhi and paratyphi, SARS, H1N1, leptospirosis|
Streptococcus Pneumonia responsible for maximum cases of pneumonia and often results in severe forms of pneumonia.
H. Influenza Pneumonia occurs commonly in patients having chronic underlying lung affections. Legionella air conditioners are the most common source.
Tips For Regaining Your Strength After Severe Pneumonia
- Get plenty of rest
- Slowly start moving around once you’re ready but don’t overdo it
- Complete any treatments prescribed by your doctor
- Eat a nutritious diet
- Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke
- Limit exposure to throat irritants, including pollution and alcohol
- Perform deep breathing exercises
- Consult with your doctor before returning to exercise
Aim to slowly work back into your usual routine and be sure to take note of any signs that the infection may be coming back.
“Pneumonia can be incredibly taxing and there’s no one-size-fits-all to recovery. Some people feel better in about six weeks, but it can take several months for others to feel better after severe pneumonia,” adds Dr. Lee. “Most importantly, be patient with your body.”
If your recovery is prolonged, a specialized program focused on pulmonary rehabilitation may help get you back on track.
Read Also: How Can You Know If You Have Pneumonia
How Is Walking Pneumonia Treated
Walking pneumonia is usually mild, does not require hospitalization and is treated with antibiotics . Several types of antibiotics are effective. Antibiotics that are used to treat walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae include:
- Macrolide antibiotics: Macrolide drugs are the preferred treatment for children and adults. Macrolides include azithromycin and clarithromycin . Over the past decade, some strains of Mycoplasma pneumoniae have become resistant to macrolide antibiotics, possibly due to the widespread use of azithromycin to treat various illnesses.
- Fluoroquinolones: These drugs include ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin . Fluoroquinolones are not recommended for young children.
- Tetracyclines: This group includes doxycycline and tetracycline. They are suitable for adults and older children.
Often, over-the-counter medications can also be taken to help relieve symptoms of nasal congestion, cough and loosen mucus buildup in the chest. If you have a fever:
- Drink more fluids
From Walking Pneumonia To Covid
When youre sick, it can be hard to diagnose yourself: Do you have a cold? The flu? COVID-19? Bronchitis? Or, could it be pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a potentially serious condition: An estimated 1 million adults in the United States seek care in a hospital due to pneumonia every year, and 50,000 die from it.
Pneumonia causes inflammation, fluid or pus to build up in the air sacs of the lungs, which are called alveoli, explains Carrie Ward, MD, a primary care physician at Keck Medicine of USC and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The alveoli are responsible for air exchange, and when they fill with fluid or are inflamed, they cant effectively do their job, and the body receives less oxygen.
Heres what you need to know about pneumonia, including when to see a doctor.
Also Check: How To Relieve Back Pain From Pneumonia
Bacteremia And Septic Shock
If bacteria caused your pneumonia, they could get into your blood, especially if you didnât see a doctor for treatment. Itâs a problem called bacteremia.
When your blood pressure is too low, your heart may not be able to pump enough blood to your organs, and they can stop working. Get medical help right away if you notice symptoms like:
Your doctor will likely treat your lung abscesses with antibiotics. They may do a procedure that uses a needle to remove the pus.
How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person
Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.
Also Check: Can I Get A Pneumonia Shot Every Year
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented
Check with your healthcare provider about getting immunizations. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia. Because of that, getting a flu shot every year can help prevent both the flu and pneumonia.
There is also a pneumococcal vaccine. It will protect you from a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Children younger than age 5 and adults ages 65 and older should get this shot.
The pneumococcal shot is also recommended for all children and adults who are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease due to other health conditions.
How Are Walking Pneumonia And Regular Pneumonia Treated
For walking pneumonia, some doctors may evaluate your symptoms, assume thats what you have and prescribe an antibiotic. But Dr. Chaisson doesnt 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 , its 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.
Recommended Reading: What R The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Favorite Orgs That Can Help Fight Pneumonia
Those over age 65 have a higher risk of getting pneumonia than younger adults. They may be especially susceptible to community-acquired pneumonia, spread among large populations of elderly people in settings such as assisted living facilities. This organization, devoted to finding the best products and services for seniors, publishes advice on how older adults should handle prevention and care.
Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia. Several national healthcare organizations and the CDC are collaborating in an effort called United Against the Flu to stress the importance of getting immunized. The groups website supplies resources and details on the vaccination.
Pneumonia Can Be Serious But Not Always
A case of pneumonia doesnt necessarily require a hospital stay: If you are diagnosed with pneumonia but your symptoms arent severe, your doctor may direct you to manage it at home.
COVID-19 aside, bacterial pneumonia can be more serious than viral pneumonia unless you have a case of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae, often referred to as walking pneumonia, the non-medical term for atypical pneumonia. Although its often mild, atypical pneumonia can still make you feel pretty bad and can also be spread to others.
Read Also: How Do You Get Strep Pneumonia
What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Legionnaires Disease
Legionnaires disease symptoms look a lot like other pneumonia symptoms. If you have Legionnaires disease, you may experience:
Most people see symptoms start a few days up to a week after being exposed to the Legionella bacteria. Sometimes, symptoms may show up 2 weeks after exposure.
What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can be very serious and even deadly.
You are more likely to have complications if you are an older adult, a very young child, have a weakened immune system, or have a serious medical problem like diabetes or cirrhosis. Complications may include:
Acute respiratory distress syndrome . This is a severe form of respiratory failure.
Lung abscesses. These are pockets of pus that form inside or around the lung. They may need to be drained with surgery
Respiratory failure. This requires the use of a breathing machine or ventilator.
This is when the infection gets into the blood. It may lead to organ failure.
Read Also: How Often Do Seniors Need Pneumonia Vaccine
When To Get A Persistent Cough Checked
If youre struggling with a lingering cough but not sick enough to stay in bed, it may be unclear exactly when to seek help. So, how do you know when to call the doctor?
If symptoms are out of the ordinary for you, if youre getting worse instead of better in that three to five day period, or if they persist, consider that it might be walking pneumonia as opposed to a typical cold, and check in with your doctor.
In order to diagnose walking pneumonia, your doctor will perform a physical exam. A chest x-ray and some additional tests may also be needed.
While its possible for people with walking pneumonia to recover without treatment, many patients with a confirmed Mycoplasma pneumonia infection benefit from antibiotics.
Antibiotics are very effective against walking pneumonia typically a five to seven day course is prescribed. It may take about 10 to 14 days before you actually start feeling back to baseline, but once the walking pneumonia is treated, symptoms should resolve completely.
Keep in mind however, walking pneumonia isnt always mild. Some cases are severe and require hospitalization.