Understanding the Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia in Adults

January 31, 2024

"Walking pneumonia" is a non-medical term used to refer to a mild case of pneumonia. The medical term to describe this is "atypical pneumonia", a condition caused by certain kinds of microorganisms, most commonly a bacterium called Mycoplasma pneumonia. This kind of pneumonia does not require bed rest as affected people can still go about their regular activities, hence the term "walking pneumonia." However, don't be fooled by the term as it can still cause concerning symptoms and requires medical attention. 

For same-day illness treatment, visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care West Orange. Our board-certified medical providers specialize in treating a wide range of common conditions. We’re open seven days a week, just walk-in at your convenience!

How Long Does Walking Pneumonia Last?

Most people start to feel much better after three to five days of being diagnosed with walking pneumonia. However, the accompanying cough can last between one to three months and even longer if the appropriate treatment is not given. You should know that recovery time varies from person to person and the severity of infection depends on the age group and lifestyle conditions.

Common symptoms of walking pneumonia include:

  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Low-grade fever
  • Chills
  • Cough.
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

How To Treat Walking Pneumonia

If you suspect you have walking pneumonia, it's essential you meet a doctor as soon as possible as it can lead to severe complications if left unattended. Walking pneumonia is treatable if you use the right antibiotics as the root microorganism is a bacteria. You can also combine the medications with an OTC pain reducer to help manage joint aches. A doctor can recommend antihistamines or nasal decongestant sprays to reduce nasal congestion, as well as a cough medicine to help manage and loosen mucus (sputum).

In addition to these kinds of treatments, you should focus on letting your body rest, even if you feel healthy to go about your business. Resting protects others and increases your chances of healing. Make sure you hydrate properly by drinking plenty of water or receiving an IV fluid to supply the body with any fluids it may have lost.

How Can I Prevent Walking Pneumonia as an Adult?

As adults, it's important to encourage measures that prevent the spread of disease from one person to another. Since pneumonia spreads when an infected person's body droplets come in contact with you or your belongings, you should endeavor to protect yourself from people's droplets and also build your immune system to tackle diseases if you happen to come into contact with them.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent walking pneumonia:

  • Protect yourself from pneumonia infection caused by flu by taking the regular and boosted flu vaccine every year.
  • Consult a medical provider for a vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia. It's important to know that there is no vaccine for viral pneumonia or pneumonia caused by the bacterium mycoplasma pneumonia.
  • Ensure you are up-to-date with your pertussis or whooping cough vaccine and other essential vaccines.
  • Choose healthy foods and fruits and endeavor to eat a balanced diet
  • Practice good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water regularly
  • Wear a protective nose material or nose mask wherever you go out to protect yourself against infected droplets.

Get Same-Day Care at AFC Urgent Care West Orange

Walking pneumonia isn't typically a life-threatening disease, but it can be if you do not tackle it properly with the right proactive care and treatments. At AFC Urgent Care West Orange, your health is our top priority. We are open seven days a week with extended hours to accommodate your busy schedule. Most major health insurances are accepted by our center, with low-cost care available for patients who self-pay. If you have any additional questions about our services, please contact us directly at (973) 669-5900.

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