Walking pneumonia is an infectious and mild form pneumonia that is caused by a bacterium known as mycoplasma pneumonia. Adults inflicted with walking pneumonia may not be bedridden and may be able to walk about as well as go to work.
Older children and adults up to the early forties are most likely to contact walking pneumonia
Walking Pneumonia symptoms in adults
Adults who are inflicted by the bacterium may show symptoms and signs of walking pneumonia after 20 to 25 days and these symptoms may develop over the next three to four days.
Some of the signs and symptoms of walking pneumonia are listed below:
- A dry cough that makes its presence felt in the form of violent spasms. The cough may produce only small amounts of mucus and is not bloody
- Runny nose
- Congestion of the nasal passage or increased stuffiness of the nose
- Signs that may be similar to a mild flu such as mild fever with bouts of shivers and chills
- Pain or stiffness in the joints
- Soreness of the throat
- Body aches
- Increased headaches, sometimes accompanied by nausea
- Fatigue or increased weariness and tiredness
- Pain in the abdomen
- Even after the symptoms have decreased or gone away, there may be a general tiredness and weakness to the body that may linger
- Increased inactivity
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- Pain in the eyes or increased soreness
- Pain in the chest may be present or absent
- The lymph glands may expand or enlarge
- Excessive sweating
In rare cases, adults with walking pneumonia may have infections of the ear or ear pain, rashes on the skin or anemia
Causes of walking pneumonia in adults
- Infection of the lungs by bacteria results in walking pneumonia in adults. When an individual has walking pneumonia, the lungs, its air sacs and other tissues get infected and there is accumulation of mucus, pus and other fluids. This prevents the oxygen from the lungs to read the cells of the body and the bloodstream, which results in the symptoms of walking pneumonia.
- Walking pneumonia is contagious and is spread through contact with the mucus and spit of infected individuals. The infection may spread when adults with walking pneumonia sneeze or cough. Hence, individuals who live in populated areas, shelters, etc. and college students are more at risk in developing walking pneumonia. Also, intimate or increased contact with infected individuals increases the risk.
- Existing conditions like cold or flu may increase the vulnerability of adults to develop walking pneumonia. Such illnesses are common during climate or weather changes.
Treatment of walking pneumonia in adults
The treatment of walking pneumonia and the preventive methods are listed below:
- Mild infections tend to go away by themselves. Antibiotics are used to treat walking pneumonia in adults
- Increased rest and intake of bodily fluids help alleviate the symptoms of walking pneumonia
- The flu and cold-like symptoms of walking pneumonia may be treated using regular over the counter flu medications after consulting a doctor
- A healthy body, that is achieved and maintained by a healthy diet, regular sleep and exercise increases the immune system of the body to resist diseases like walking pneumonia
- Other preventive measures include personal hygiene that includes cleanliness of the hands, non smoking or quitting smoking that increases the lung immunity and decreases its vulnerability and practice of good habits like covering the mouth while coughing or sneezing.