Walking Pneumonia

In cases where pneumonia symptoms, such as cough and fatigue, are less severe, a person is said to have "walking pneumonia," meaning the person can still "walk around." This common infection spreads easily, typically through coughing and sneezing, and accounts for up to 50 percent of pneumonia cases in college students and military recruits. The condition is treated with antibiotics such as tetracycline and doxycycline.

What Is Walking Pneumonia?

Walking pneumonia is simply a milder case of pneumonia. With this condition, a person does not appear as sick as a person with regular pneumonia, and they are still able to "walk around." They may feel sick; however, their symptoms are not as severe.
Walking pneumonia can be caused by a number of different types of bacteria and viruses. The most common cause is an infection with Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria.

Is Walking Pneumonia Contagious?

Walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae occurs most frequently during the fall and winter, but may develop year-round. It is common, accounting for about 20 percent of pneumonia cases in middle and high school students, and up to 50 percent of cases in college students and military recruits.
These bacteria are contagious, but generally only cause upper respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, runny nose, or sore throat. Studies show that no more than 1 in 10 cases of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection actually result in pneumonia.

How Is It Spread?

Mycoplasma pneumoniae are usually found in the mouth and nose of the infected person. They are most often spread through the air, for example, from a person coughing or sneezing.
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Walking Pneumonia Information

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