What is Walking Pneumonia: How Long Does it Last & Is it Contagious?

Walking pneumonia is a generic term for mild pneumonia which is caused by lung infection. This is also known as atypical pneumonia and is not counted in the category of serious ailments. Let us understand what walking pneumonia is, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and recovery. There are many queries regarding walking pneumonia, about how long does it last and whether it is contagious. Let us understand about these in detail.

What is Walking Pneumonia?

What is Walking Pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia is a non-contagious form of infection which can also lead to many ailments if not treated in time. This form of pneumonia is not caused due to pathogens and has some differences as compared to the typical form of this lung infection. Some of the common symptoms of this mild ailment may persist for long, which can further lead to serious forms of lung infections.

When foreign substances enter the lungs, it can cause walking pneumonia, characterized by which fever. Many people off late have been affected by this ailment which has led to serious effects on their overall health. Walking pneumonia generally accompanies chest congestion, which can be mild or severe and it is recommended that if any condition of cold persists beyond certain duration, immediate medical help becomes imminent.

In walking pneumonia, the inflamed tissue can surely be a cause of concern and for specific duration, this infection can be quite contagious as well. So one has to keep in mind the recovery time of walking pneumonia and must take care of the precautions too which helps a lot in healing you from this infection in a speedy way.

What are the Causes of Walking Pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia is not caused by traditional pathogens but have their genesis to protozoa, fungi, special bacteria and viruses. It is basically the microorganisms which are responsible for making the problem severe. The main causes of walking pneumonia or condition that make it worse, is an attack of these micro-organisms.

  • Mycoplasma pneumonia usually causes the infection in younger age groups which also accompanies neurological and systemic symptoms.
  • Legionella pneumophila can lead to high mortality rate and is known as legionellosis or Legionnaires’ disease.
  • Francisella tularensis causes tularemia
  • Coxiella burnetii is responsible for causing Q fever
  • Chlamydophila psittaci causes psittacosis
  • Chlamydophila pneumonia which causes mild form of pneumonia with relatively mild symptoms.

While walking pneumonia infection can occur any time, it is during the late summer time and fall that this infection becomes more prominent. During this period, the chances of spread of the infection due to walking pneumonia is also very high.

Normally, kids up to 5 years of age are severely affected by walking pneumonia and people from all age groups are at risk of this infection. Being a milder type of disease, walking pneumonia has no serious repercussions. Being caused by specific bacteria, this form of pneumonia is very common among children, infants and elderly adults or those with compromised immunity. Any factor that increases the incidence of the causes of walking pneumonia, can result in an infection.

It is usually the crowded places in which people have high risk of contracting walking pneumonia infection. Major drawback of walking pneumonia is its contagious nature which has the capacity to make a person fall ill in no time. Acts of coughing, sneezing, or sharing of items of personal use can cause spread of walking pneumonia infection.

What are the Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia?

A person suffering from walking pneumonia undergoes some major changes in the body. Some of the commonest symptoms of walking pneumonia include

How is Walking Pneumonia Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of walking pneumonia is done on the basis of physical examination and necessary investigation to detect the causes of infection. Following measures are taken to locate the exact causes and degree of infection you are suffering from:

  • Blood test
  • Chest X-ray
  • Advanced lung scans to detect any abnormality

Depending upon the severity of the disease, tests are carried out and if you are suffering from the mycoplasma infection, more tests need to be carried out.

What are the Treatments for Walking Pneumonia?

The treatment of walking pneumonia mainly depends on the cause of the disease. Some of the common treatment options applied in the treatment of walking pneumonia include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Use of cough medicine
  • Take medications for serious illness if you have any
  • Taking plenty of rest and sleep
  • Having lots of liquids
  • Avoid smoking
  • Strengthening the weak immune system
  • Immunization for children and adults
  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Giving influenza vaccine for preventing flu also works

It is always recommended to stay away from people who have acquired walking pneumonia so that lesser chances of catching up the disease are there.

How Long Does Walking Pneumonia Last?

It may take around a month to completely recover from walking pneumonia and that purely depends upon severity of pneumonia and personal health status. Medicines, rest and necessary measures taken during recovery period, influence the way in which you are able to heal from walking pneumonia infection. If you are already healthy, you will recuperate from walking pneumonia really well.

Being a mild illness, walking pneumonia can last up to three weeks, which can be managed well with proper medications and diagnosis procedures.

Is Walking Pneumonia Contagious?

Walking pneumonia is contagious, especially during the active infection. Effective medications can make the patient free from contagiousness in effectively two days and to get you completely recovered from the disease, two weeks are enough.

If a person has viral pneumonia, chances of this being infectious are quite low and owing to proper hygiene, contamination can be reduced to large extent in due time.

What is the Recovery Period for Walking Pneumonia?

It takes a period of three weeks for walking pneumonia to completely resolve but if there is severe coughing problem, it may take longer. Your age and health status also influences your recovery period from walking pneumonia.

For severe cases of walking pneumonia, it is necessary to ensure timely treatment and elimination of symptoms. This not only helps in faster recovery, but also reduces the time span during which the walking pneumonia infection is contagious. It is important to take necessary care and prevention from walking pneumonia infections during the recovery period, to prevent other infections or worsening of walking pneumonia, which is already being treated. With proper care, timely treatment the recovery period of walking pneumonia may be around three weeks under normal circumstances.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 2, 2017

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