Even though the name sounds scary, walking pneumonia is in the contrary one of the mildest form of pneumonia. In fact, a person who has this kind of pneumonia can go about with their everyday life in a normal way just like others. However, the symptoms of this kind of pneumonia must be recognized since even though this pneumonia is a milder mild form, a person can still feel sick. This article therefore deals with dealing in depth with the meaning of walking pneumonia, the symptoms that point towards it, its causes and how to treat it.
What is Walking Pneumonia?
Atypical Pneumonia that is also called walking pneumonia as the non medical word, is a mild version of the normal pneumonia. This kind of bacteria affects the lower and upper respiratory tract of a person. This pneumonia is generally caused by some viruses and bacteria, more typically the Mycoplasma pneumonia, which is a common form of bacterium. This form of bacteria is a mild form of bacteria hence the symptoms that are caused by it are mild when compared to others.
The term ‘Atypical’ is coined to refer to this kind of bacteria for the fact that this pneumonia or the cells that is the root behind the cause of it is resistant and do not react to penicillin, which is known to treat normal kinds of pneumonia.
The term ‘walking’ refers to the fact that this kind of pneumonia is mild and a person can get this pneumonia and yet carry on about their normal activities almost just like any other normal person. That refers to the fact that in walking pneumonia, a person need not be in bed rest or need to be hospitalized.
However, even though it is the mild version of the regular pneumonia, the symptom of it feels as miserable as the regular pneumonia. Some of the symptoms of the walking pneumonia include headache, chest pain, fever and mild chills amongst others. At many times, many people would feel like they have got a Common Cold.
What are the Walking Pneumonia Symptoms?
There are a certain factors on which the symptoms of the walking pneumonia depend on. Some of the factors are the age of the person, the type of bacteria or germ with which the person has been affected, the place where the infection has taken place and the overall health of the person affected amongst others. Based on these factors the symptoms and signs of the person can vary between mild reactions to severe. Mostly, the symptoms of this kind of pneumonia resemble those of common cold.
Some of the walking pneumonia symptoms are:
- Persistent dry cough.
- Sore throat.
- Wind pipe inflammation
- Upset stomach
- Labored or rapid breathing
- Symptoms suggesting flu (chills and fever etc.).
- Pain in the chest
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the abdomen
- Lower body temperature
Children show similar symptoms just like the adults when they get affected with walking pneumonia. In certain cases, they may not show any symptoms of any infection at all. The symptoms that mostly tend to show up in children are:
- Restlessness or tiredness.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Difficulty in eating
It is best recommended to let the children stay at home and rest even though the symptoms and signs are not severe, until the symptoms disappear.
What are the causes of Walking Pneumonia?
The reason that leads to the atypical pneumonia to take place is viruses and bacteria, mainly a micro organism or bacterium which is called Mycoplasma pneumonia. Pneumonia is mainly caused as a result of lung infection. Some of the reasons that contribute to having a Pneumonia are bacteria, fungi, viruses, certain foods and chemicals amongst others.
The atypical pneumonia is contagious in nature and therefore can spread from a person to another. The carriers of this are mainly droplets of throat and nose of the person who is affected. Hence, in a crowded area this disease spreads rapidly.
Who are more prone to be affected by Atypical Pneumonia?
Any people of any age group can be affected by atypical pneumonia. The symptoms of this kind of pneumonia is mild when compared to the other pneumonia and therefore some people initially might consider the symptoms and signs to be of common cold since they are extremely similar.
Similar to the common pneumonia, there are a certain group of people who are more prone to catching an atypical pneumonia. These groups of people are:
- People who are 65 years of age.
- Children who are around 2 years of age and younger than that.
- People who smoke.
- People who use immunosuppressant drugs.
- The people who have certain respiratory problems. Examples of it are COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases or other similar kinds.
- The people who have asthma.
- The people who have emphysema.
- People using inhaler.
- People who are not well.
- The people who have less immunity when compared with the others.
- People who drink alcohol.
- People who are exposed to certain environmental conditions such as air pollution, chemical and dust which can affect the lungs.
- In cases where the person have gone through a recent surgery.
- The people who have heart diseases.
- The people who have diabetes.
What are the ways to prevent Atypical Pneumonia?
There is no vaccine that is yet been made that can help prevent a person from getting walking pneumonia. Along with that, a person once affected with this kind of pneumonia to have chances of getting infected by it again. Hence, in order to keep one self from getting the atypical pneumonia and reduce the possibility of getting it, some of the ways are:
Undergo certain lifestyle changes
One of the best ways to prevent the chances of getting atypical pneumonia is to bring about certain lifestyle changes. Doing regular exercises, eating proper nutrition, taking complete rest are some of the ways to do so.
People who smoke are more prone to getting atypical pneumonia than the people who do not. This is for the fact that smoking tends to damage the lungs which is one of the root causes of getting atypical pneumonia. Hence, quitting smoking reduces the chances of getting it.
Keep the hands clean
One of the ways in which the virus and bacteria spreads is unclean hands. Hence, it is important to ensure that the hands are cleaned properly and regularly. The hands must be washed for at least a minimum of 20 seconds. Warm water and a hand sanitizer that is alcohol based is one of the best choices to get maximum effect.
Cover the face while coughing and sneezing
Another primary ways in which the infections spread is through sneeze and cough. Hence, it is a must to use tissues or a handkerchief while coughing and sneezing. Wash the handkerchief properly after using it and throw the tissue paper inside the waste basket so that is way from the contact of others.
Wear a mask
Wearing a mask serves as one of the best ways to prevent oneself from catching atypical pneumonia. This is especially important for people who have certain respiratory problems such as bronchitis, asthma and emphysema amongst others. People who have weak immune system and have other kinds of diseases such as diabetes, kidney diseases or liver and heart diseases must also keep themselves protected by wearing a mask. This is these people are more prone to getting affected with atypical pneumonia.
What are the treatments of Atypical Pneumonia?
The diagnosis and treatment of atypical pneumonia is difficult since at the initial stages of it the symptoms and signs of it resemble that of common cold or flu. The symptoms and sings of this kind of pneumonia is mild than the other kinds of pneumonia. Hence, people who are affected by it can therefore carry on with their normal lives.
There are yet no vaccines that have been invented that can be diagnosed to prevent atypical pneumonia from taking place. Some of the treatments of atypical pneumonia therefore are:
Home Remedies of Atypical Pneumonia
The signs and symptoms of atypical pneumonia is mild and therefore the people who are affected by it need not confine themselves to bed or be hospitalized to get treated. At many times bringing about certain changes in the home and taking certain measures can serve as a treatment for atypical pneumonia. Some of these home treatments are:
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water and other liquids.
- Even though the symptoms and signs of this kind of pneumonia is not chronic and the people affected need to stop them from carrying about their normal activities, they must get proper rest. Giving the body enough rest helps it to fight against infections.
- Taking medicines to take down the fever.
- By avoiding smoking. This is mainly because smoking increases the chances of getting pneumonia or leads to worsen an already existing condition.
- Taking frequent warm bath and using a humidifier.
Medical Treatments for Atypical Pneumonia
The signs and symptoms of Atypical Pneumonia are mild and therefore it mostly does not need to be treated most of the times. However, there are certain times when the doctor does suggest some antibiotics that need to be taken as and when prescribed by them. The antibiotics are generally suggested when bacteria are found to be the one causing the walking or atypical pneumonia. Some of the antibiotic choices that are mostly suggested by the doctors are:
- Macrolide Antibiotics: The Macrolide Antibiotics are mostly suggested or prescribed for adults and children. However, there are certain Mycoplasma pneumoniae, the bacteria that cause walking or atypical pneumonia that have become resistant to this antibiotic.
- Fluoroquinolones: Another antibiotic that is prescribed by the doctor to treat this kind of pneumonia is fluoroquinolones. However, this antibiotic is not prescribed to the children.
- Tetracyclines: Another kind of antibiotic that helps to treat the atypical pneumonia that is prescribed by the doctors is Tetracyclines. This antibiotic is prescribed to the old children and adults.
Hospitalization as an Atypical Pneumonia Treatment
Even though the term Walking Pneumonia itself describes that it is not as severe as the other kinds of pneumonia and people who are affected can carry about with their regular lives, there are but certain cases where some people affected with it needs to be hospitalized and treated. In certain cases the pneumonia of this kind becomes severe mainly for the reason of Legionella pneumophila. In those the people affected might need to be admitted to the hospital and treated with antibiotics and various other supports. These supports include respiratory therapy and intravenous therapy amongst others.
Concluding Take Away
The Walking or Atypical Pneumonia is a mild form of pneumonia with the signs and symptoms of it resembling that of common cold. Hence, at the initial stages of it predicting that a person is affected with this kind of pneumonia is quiet difficult by the doctors. This is more since the symptoms are extremely mild and therefore the person affected can carry about with their normal lives and need not be confined to bed or be hospitalized.
However, as mentioned above in certain cases a person might need to be hospitalized if the symptoms and signs tend to become severe. In other cases, this kind of pneumonia tends to heal and the symptoms of it seem to disappear within a few weeks of a person being diagnosed by it.
The Atypical Pneumonia is contagious in nature and therefore the person affected must always wear masks in order to prevent it from spreading to others. This is for important for the fact that there isn’t any vaccine that has still been made to prevent a person against catching walking or atypical pneumonia. Along with that, a person who has already been affected by this kind of pneumonia too has the chances of getting affected by it again. This makes this a recurring kind of pneumonia. Hence, a person must be aware and take preventive measures of protect themselves against this kind of pneumonia.