When most people have cold symptoms like fever, runny nose, or a cough, they expect to slow down. They expect to be back to normal in a few days. If symptoms linger or worsen to the point where they’re not enough to keep a person off their feet, but they’re bad enough for that person to notice, it may be walking pneumonia.
Walking pneumonia sounds scary, but it’s actually a less severe case of pneumonia. With walking pneumonia a hospital stay is often not required. Many people often don’t even realize they have walking pneumonia. Even so, walking pneumonia will cause those affected to feel lousy. It’s also contagious.
What is Pneumonia?
The term pneumonia refers to an inflammation of the lining of the lungs. A lung infection is often to blame. Lots of things can cause it, including:
- Inhaled food
When a medical care provider diagnoses someone with walking pneumonia, they are usually referring to an infection with an organism called Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is contagious, but it spreads slowly. Some researchers think it takes a lot of close contact with an infected person to develop walking pneumonia. That’s why outbreaks are most often found in schools, dorms, military barracks, and nursing homes.
Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia
Symptoms generally start 15 to 25 days after you’re exposed to mycoplasma and slowly worsen over two to four days. You might have:
- Chest pain when you take a deep breath in
- Cough that may come in violent spasms
- Mild flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills
- Sore throat
- Lingering weakness that may last after other symptoms go away
How Do I Prevent Walking Pneumonia?
There’s no guaranteed way to guard against walking pneumonia, but the general rules to prevent illness apply to pneumonia as well.
- Get your flu shot. The flu can turn into pneumonia. Getting the annual flu vaccine is important, particularly if you have diabetes, heart disease or lung disease. Both infections are dangerous when you have these conditions.
- Ask your doctor about the pneumococcal vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults over 65 should receive both Prevnar 13® and Pneumovax 23®.
- Take special care when you or others are sick. Proper hand hygiene prevents the spread of germs so be aggressive about washing your hands or using hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough. Cough and sneeze into a tissue, a handkerchief or your elbow — not into your bare hands.
- Use a tissue. If you use tissues, throw them away properly.
- Wear a mask around sick people if a chronic condition makes pneumonia or flu risky for you.
- Keep healthy habits. Healthy exercise, nutritional, and sleeping routines improve your immune system and help you stay well.
If you’re feeling under the weather or if you have more questions about the flu vaccination. Call us at (662) 348-3342 today. We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment for you.