What is Walking Pneumonia?

November 12, 2023

With winter illness season just around the corner, it is important to understand the early symptoms of illnesses for fast diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention could stop symptoms before they manifest. Learn about walking pneumonia, how to identify the early symptoms, and available courses of treatment.

Common Causes & Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or even mold exposure. Exposure to any of these irritants can cause the air sacs in your lungs to fill with mucus. Walking pneumonia is a mild version of pneumonia. It is referred to as “walking” because oftentimes the symptoms are mild enough to continue with your day-to-day life without bed rest or hospitalization compared to regular pneumonia.

Common symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Chest congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue

Although the symptoms are mild, mild pneumonia symptoms could just be the beginning of pneumonia. The incubation period for walking pneumonia is two to four weeks, meaning that you can spread it to others without any symptoms. You should seek medical attention if you have any pneumonia symptoms to rule out serious illness.

How to Prevent Walking Pneumonia

Walking pneumonia is less severe than pneumonia, however, it still can cause lasting and uncomfortable symptoms. It is especially severe if you have underlying conditions such as asthma or for individuals with weakened immune systems such as the elderly or young children. Given this, it is important to take steps to avoid contracting walking pneumonia.

Getting the flu shot can help prevent pneumonia and walking pneumonia. The flu is a common infection that can lead to pneumonia when left untreated. Therefore, getting your flu shot will reduce the risk of developing severe secondary illnesses from the flu, such as pneumonia. Other preventative measures for pneumonia include proper handwashing, sanitizing surfaces regularly, and avoiding contact with anyone who is showing symptoms of being sick are all important measures to protect yourself from getting sick.

Pneumonia Diagnosis & Treatment Near Eatontown, NJ

When you seek a diagnosis of walking pneumonia at urgent care, your healthcare provider will conduct a full physical exam and ask about any underlying conditions you may have. Then, they will listen to your lungs for signs of wheezing. For a formal diagnosis, your healthcare provider will order a chest X-ray to confirm the presence of mucus in the lungs. They will also likely draw blood to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment options depend on whether the illness was caused by a bacteria, virus, or mold exposure. Unless your case is caused by bacteria, your healthcare provider will instruct you to utilize over-the-counter medications for your symptoms so that the infection can run its course. If it is caused by bacteria, then you will likely be prescribed antibiotics to help the infection clear. Without treatment, walking pneumonia will last anywhere between four and six weeks.

Get Same-Day Illness Treatment at AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch

Although walking pneumonia is usually less serious than pneumonia, the only way to ensure that you are not just experiencing early pneumonia symptoms is to get a medical diagnosis. At AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch, our medical providers are board-certified and trained to diagnose a variety of common illnesses, including walking pneumonia. Our state-of-the-art facility is equipped with an on-site laboratory and X-ray suite so that we can provide fast and accurate medical diagnoses.

You don’t need an appointment to receive care at our clinic. Simply walk in when it is convenient for you. We are open seven days a week and offer extended business hours so that it is easy to get the care that you need. Stay healthy this fall by seeking early illness diagnosis at AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch. Walk in today, or schedule an appointment online. For additional questions regarding the services that we provide, please contact us directly at 732-222-8000.

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