Wednesday, May 24, 2023

What’s A Walking Pneumonia

Causes And Risk Factors For Walking Pneumonia

What is Walking Pneumonia? – Dr. Hirennappa B Udnur

Walking pneumonia is often described as atypical since it doesnt resemble regular pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is different because:

  • The infection sometimes doesnt even affect the lungs
  • The bacteria that causes it often doesnt respond to typical antibiotics

This was so unusual that scientists thought that its not even caused by a bacteria for a while, but by other microbes. Today we know that, unlike viral pneumonia, bacteria are indeed to blame for walking pneumonia.

Several bacteria can cause walking pneumonia, including the following:

  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which causes the majority of infections. AllMycoplasma bacteria are very small and dont have a cell wall. Their proteins can trigger a strong autoimmune response that can spread to various organs in the body .
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae is much less dangerous and causes mild symptoms. But if left untreated, it can lead to heart and blood vessel diseases .
  • Legionella pneumophila causes serious symptoms. Luckily, it is less frequent than the previous two. If it progresses, the disease is no longer walking but becomes a severe form of pneumonia called Legionnaires disease .

All three types are contagious and can spread, especially in closed communities and households. Children, the elderly, people with a history of lung problems, or those with poor immunity are at the highest risk .

How To Prevent Walking Pneumonia

Once you are infected with walking pneumonia, you should ensure that you are taking measures to not spread in to the people around you.

  • For this purpose, you are supposed to cover your mouth and nose when you are coughing or sneezing so that the infected droplets do not spread through the air and infect people who are breathing in the same air.
  • You should use a handkerchief or tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you feel the need to cough, sneeze or blow your nose. Your infected sputum should also be properly discarded.
  • Discard the soiled tissues properly.
  • Keep your hands clean from repeated washing and having a hand sanitizer handy.
  • Maintain good hygiene of yourself and your surroundings.
  • Keep your room ventilated so fresh air can replace contaminated air.
  • Avoid being in crowded place until you begin your medication and observe symptom improvement

Who Gets Walking Pneumonia

As we discussed earlier, walking pneumonia is common in people who are routinely exposed to crowded places. Similarly, children who are in their school-going age and adults, younger than 40 years of age, are generally most likely to suffer from walking pneumonia. However, this doesnt mean that people belong to other age groups and social environment cannot get walking pneumonia.

It is also worth mentioning that to catch walking pneumonia, one generally needs to be exposed to the M. pneumoniae multiple times. Often, it is observed that the cases of pneumonia peak during late summer or fall seasons however you can contract walking pneumonia pathogen anytime during the year.

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What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia

  • Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
  • If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
  • Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
  • Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
  • Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.

If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.

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When Should I See My Doctor

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Pneumonia can be life-threatening if left untreated, especially for certain at-risk people. You should call your doctor if you have a cough that wont go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fever. You should also call your doctor if you suddenly begin to feel worse after having a cold or the flu.

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Recovery Time Of Walking Pneumonia

Once a person is infected with walking pneumonia, he/she takes a few days to develop symptoms. Due to this gradual symptom onset, people find it tough to trace back to the time where the infection was contracted and find a hint about their condition.

Experts believe that this gradual onset is due to the long incubation period of M. pneumonia that stretches between 1 to 4 weeks time however in most of the cases the symptom onset is observed 2 weeks after an individuals exposure to the causative agent.

Once a person begins to take antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor, the mycoplasma growth in the respiratory tract is reduced and eventually inhibited. Following this, the symptoms begin to improve and the person becomes less contagious for people in the surroundings.

Does Pneumonia Really Walk And Is Double Pneumonia Just Double Talk

Before answering the above questions, I want the reader and myself to be on the same initial page and agree that the basic subject about to be presented is pneumonia. Pneumonia is a disease of the lung tissue that involves inflammation of the alveoli . Although bacteria and viruses cause the majority of pneumonias, there can be other causes such as fungi, parasites, chemicals, and physical injury to the lung tissue. Pneumonias can result in fluid accumulation in alveoli and produce the typical signs and symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and often fever and chest pain, especially when coughing.

Pneumonia is not bronchitis , and it’s not pleurisy , although both can produce some symptoms similar to pneumonias. Please note the use of the word “pneumonias” it’s plural and, in my view, has many different words used in both the lay and medical literature to identify subsets of the disease. Unfortunately, this can lead to confusion because there is a considerable amount of imprecision and overlap with these modifiers. We in the medical professions are guilty of developing and then using them I don’t see any evidence that the terminology will improve, so I’ll try at least to indicate what several of the prominent pneumonia modifiers mean and answer the questions asked above in the title.

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Walking Pneumonia Symptoms In Children

In children, walking pneumonia can also be a result of a persistent cold or respiratory syncytial virus . If either of these conditions last up to 10 days, then it is likely that the condition is turned into a case of walking pneumonia. The symptoms of walking pneumonia can be rapid or gradual, however, if the onset of symptoms is slow then these symptoms are likely to turn more severe. You should be looking for the following symptoms in your child if you suspect them catching walking pneumonia from their pals.

  • Feeling tired or discomfort
  • Cold-like symptoms, sore throat and headache
  • Vomiting
  • Low-grade fever

It is important to note that these symptoms may vary depending upon the infected area of the respiratory tract. If the infection is primarily present in the upper or middle region of lungs, then having difficulty in breathing is a salient feature of walking pneumonia in children. On the contrary, if the pathogen is residing in the lower area of the lungs, then vomiting, nausea or diarrhea may be experienced by your kid.

When To See A Doctor

Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia: How are they Different?

If you feel like you have either bronchitis or pneumonia, its always a good idea to check in with your doctor. If the underlying cause is bacterial, you should start feeling much better within a day or two of starting antibiotics.

Otherwise, call your doctor if your cough or wheezing doesnt improve after two weeks.

You should also seek immediate medical care if you notice:

  • blood in your phlegm
  • a fever over 100.4°F that lasts for more than a week
  • shortness of breath

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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 Walking Pneumonia Know Causes Symptoms Treatment And More

Walking pneumonia is a respiratory infection with mild symptoms. This pneumonia is most common with children.

Walking pneumonia is also called atypical pneumonia because unlike regular pneumonia, it is resistant to medicines that treat pneumonia. This pneumonia is a bacterial respiratory infection that affects the upper and lower tract which is why many people confuse this with bronchitis. The symptoms are so mild and common that this condition often goes unnoticed. Only in severe cases where the symptoms are identified require medical attention. Kids are more prone to this infection than adults. This condition can stay from a week up to a month.

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Walking Pneumonia Vs Pneumonia: Risk Factors And Complications

Anyone can catch pneumonia, but certain groups may be at a higher risk to develop the respiratory condition than others. Walking pneumonia is commonly seen in older children and adults under 40. Individuals residing in crowded areas like schools, prisons, and shelters are at a higher risk of walking pneumonia. Smokers and those with chronic illness or a weakened immune system are also at a greater risk for contracting atypical pneumonia.

Risk factors for pneumonia include being a smoker, having a recent viral infection, experiencing difficulty swallowing , having chronic lung diseases, cerebral palsy, or another serious illness like heart disease or cirrhosis, living in a nursing facility, having impaired consciousness, recovering from a recent surgery or trauma, or having a weakened immune system.

Complications of pneumonia include difficulty breathing, bacteria entering the bloodstream causing a worsened infection, fluid accumulation around the lungs, and lung abscess where pus forms in the lung cavity.

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More Severe Cases May Also Cause:

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  • quick breathing
  • rapid heartbeat
  • nausea and vomiting

Some people get a sharp pain in their chest when they breathe in and out. This may be because the thin lining between the lung and ribcage, called the pleura, is infected and inflamed. This inflammation, called pleurisy, stops your lungs moving smoothly as you breathe.

The symptoms of pneumonia are often very similar to those of other chest infections, such as bronchitis, COPD flare-ups or bronchiectasis flare-ups. To get a proper diagnosis youll need to visit your GP.

If you feel unwell with these symptoms, see your GP or call 111. If you have chest pain, a rapid heartbeat, quick breathing, shivers or confusion, get urgent advice from your GP or call 999. Take extra care if youre over 65.

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Symptoms To Watch For

Even though walking pneumonia is not as severe as other forms of pneumonia, it still produces bothersome symptoms. The symptoms of this form of pneumonia have a rather slow onset, starting between one and four weeks following first exposure to the Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. As the illness progresses, the fever becomes higher, the symptoms become worse, and coughing may produce discolored mucus or phlegm. Other symptoms include a sore throat or pharyngitis, fatigue or feeling tired, mild chills, a persistent cough that may or may not produce mucus, headaches, chest pain, a low-grade fever, pain upon inhaling deeply, appetite loss, shortness of breath, and sneezing. The symptoms of walking pneumonia last on average for between one week to over a month. Most cases of walking pneumonia are never diagnosed because the patient has mistaken it as a cold or mild sinus infection. While it is rare for symptoms to become any worse than described, some patients can experience life-threatening complications.

Get the details on the causes and complications linked to walking pneumonia next.

What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better

In addition to taking any antibiotics and/or medicine your doctor prescribes, you should also:

  • Get lots of rest. Rest will help your body fight the infection.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will keep you hydrated. They can help loosen the mucus in your lungs. Try water, warm tea, and clear soups.
  • Stop smoking if you smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke can make your symptoms worse. Smoking also increases your risk of developing pneumonia and other lung problems in the future. You should also avoid lit fireplaces or other areas where the air may not be clean.
  • Stay home from school or work until your symptoms go away. This usually means waiting until your fever breaks and you arent coughing up mucus. Ask your doctor when its okay for you to return to school or work.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier or take a warm bath. This will help clear your lungs and make it easier for you to breathe.

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It Might Feel Like A Cold

Walking pneumonia is how some people describe a mild case of pneumonia. Your doctor might call it âatypical pneumoniaâ because itâs not like more serious cases.

A lung infection is often to blame. Lots of things can cause it, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Inhaled food

Walking pneumonia usually is due to bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

You probably wonât have to stay in bed or in the hospital. You might even feel good enough go to work and keep up your routine, just as you might with a cold.

Facts About Mycoplasma Pneumoniae

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About 2 million Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections occur each year in the U.S. About 5 to 10 percent of those infections turn into pneumonia. As many as 100,000 people each year are hospitalized because of it. Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria can also cause bronchitis and a number of upper respiratory tract infections.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae is quite contagious. It can spread between people through bodily fluids, including phlegm that is coughed up. It can also spread through airborne droplets from sneezing and coughing. It is most easily spread among people who are in close contact with one another. This includes those living within households, military barracks, camps, and college dorms. Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections can spread through whole communities as well.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae is extremely common in school-aged children. It’s the most common cause of pneumonia in this age group. But these infections are rare in children younger than 5 years old.

Although Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections can occur at any time of year, they are most common in the late summer and fall.

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How Do The Lungs Work

Your lungs main job is to get oxygen into your blood and remove carbon dioxide. This happens during breathing. You breathe 12 to 20 times per minute when you are not sick. When you breathe in, air travels down the back of your throat and passes through your voice box and into your windpipe . Your trachea splits into two air passages . One bronchial tube leads to the left lung, the other to the right lung. For the lungs to perform their best, the airways need to be open as you breathe in and out. Swelling and mucus can make it harder to move air through the airways, making it harder to breathe. This leads to shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and feeling more tired than normal.

How Long Does Walking Pneumonia Last

Its difficult to say how long it takes to recover from walking pneumonia, as it varies from person to person. Some people recover in as little as two to four days while others can feel under the weather for weeks. Your recovery time will also vary according to the treatment that your doctor recommends. If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, your recovery time will likely shorten.Speaking of doctors, its essential to make an appointment if youre experiencing walking pneumonia symptoms. Not only does walking pneumonia share many symptoms with COVID-19, but its also easy to mistake for something viral, such as a respiratory infection, sinus infection, or bronchitis. Its best to receive a diagnosis from a doctor to ensure you get the right treatment instead of assuming its simply a cold or a mild case of walking pneumonia.

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How Long Does It Last

It takes a certain amount of time to start to feel sick after getting exposed to a germ. This length of time is called the incubation period, and it depends on many things, especially which bug is causing the illness.

With influenza pneumonia, for example, someone may become sick as soon as 12 hours or as long as 3 days after exposure to the flu virus. But with walking pneumonia, a person may not feel it until 2 to 3 weeks after becoming infected.

Most types of pneumonia clear up within a week or two, although a cough can linger for several weeks more. In severe cases, it may take longer to completely recover.

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