Pneumonia is the disease that causes inflammation of lungs. It is generally characterized as involving inflammation of the parenchyma of lungs and alveolar filling with fluid. Alveoli are microscopic air sacs in the lungs that are responsible for gas exchange.
The main causes of pneumonia are infection with
Chemical or physical injury to the lungs.
The ‘walking pneumonia’ is the term used to describe the pneumonia that is not much severe enough to hospitalize the person. It is caused by the infection of the organism mycoplasma pneumoniae. Hence, walking pneumonia is also known as mycoplasma pneumonia or atypical pneumonia.
Anyone can get affected by this type of pneumonia. If the person suffering from walking pneumonia sneezes or coughs, it spreads rapidly through air. It causes inflammation of lungs. It is the main cause for pneumonias in school age children. Around seventy percent of children suffer from walking pneumonia every year. It can be hazardous for the patients with weak or compromised immune systems. It generally affects the people below forty years of age. Around 2 million people in United States suffer from walking pneumonia.
Out of these, children between ages 5-16 are the majority of sufferers.
Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia:
Walking pneumonia does not disclose symptoms in early stages. However, with the passing time, the patients may get the following symptoms:
Severe pain in eyes, ears, chest and abdominal area
Sore throat due to constant cough
Lethargy (sudden decline in energy level) and sluggishness
Cold (severity increases as pneumonia reaches patient’s chest, this differentiates waking pneumonia from common cold)
Low and rapid breathing
Mild to harsh headache along-with fever and throat problems
The symptoms of pneumonia take almost one to three weeks to surface. This period is known as incubation period. It starts with loss of energy level and patient feels exhausted.
Walking pneumonia is the mild form of disease that killed thousands of people before invention of antibiotics and pneumonia vaccination. It can be dangerous as it often confused with influenza and given a wrong treatment leading to more severe manifestation. Proper hygiene is the major method to prevent the spread of bacteria. There is no helpful vaccine available for the avoidance of walking pneumonia.
With proper antibiotics, patient will be back to normal within five to seven days.
Antibiotics prescribed for walking pneumonia are tetracylclines, clarithromycin and erythromycin.
Patient must take adequate fluid intake and sufficient rest for maintaining proper hydration.
Avoid taking too many medications without doctor’s permission.
If you have fever, place a damp rag on your forehead and other areas of the body that might feel hot.
Prop up your head on the pillow making your body rest at an angle, to help improve your cough. This will help to drain out some of the fluid building up in your lungs making you feel better.
It the condition of the patient does not improve, they are advised to get admitted in hospitals for particular diagnosis. Negligence may lead to death. Hence, take care of your health. If not taken care in initial stage, walking pneumonia can be hazardous.