What Is The Most Common Cause Of Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia is caused by a bacteria named Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
This bacteria usually causes upper respiratory tract infections and bronchitis. But occasionally people who get sick with this bacteria can develop pneumonia. School-aged children are more likely to get pneumonia from Mycoplasma than adults or teens.
And while the bacteria is around all the time its usually most active in the late fall and winter. Below well cover how walking pneumonia spreads and how you can avoid getting it.
What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better
In addition to taking any antibiotics and/or medicine your doctor prescribes, you should also:
- Get lots of rest. Rest will help your body fight the infection.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will keep you hydrated. They can help loosen the mucus in your lungs. Try water, warm tea, and clear soups.
- Stop smoking if you smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke can make your symptoms worse. Smoking also increases your risk of developing pneumonia and other lung problems in the future. You should also avoid lit fireplaces or other areas where the air may not be clean.
- Stay home from school or work until your symptoms go away. This usually means waiting until your fever breaks and you arent coughing up mucus. Ask your doctor when its okay for you to return to school or work.
- Use a cool-mist humidifier or take a warm bath. This will help clear your lungs and make it easier for you to breathe.
Who Gets Walking Pneumonia And How Is It Spread
Anyone at any age can get walking pneumonia. Walking pneumonia from mycoplasma is most common, though, in older children and adults younger than 40.
People who live and work in crowded places, such as schools, homeless shelters, and prisons have a higher risk of contracting the disease. Thatâs because walking pneumonia is contagious. Itâs spread when someone comes in contact with droplets from the nose and throat of someone who has it. That commonly happens when the person with walking pneumonia sneezes or coughs.
Cases of walking pneumonia are most common in the late summer and fall. But infections can occur with no particular pattern throughout the year. And, even though the disease is contagious, it spreads slowly. The contagious period in most cases lasts less than 10 days. Researchers also think it takes prolonged close contact with an infected person for someone else to develop walking pneumonia still, there are widespread outbreaks every four to eight years. When those outbreaks occur, walking pneumonia can account for as many as one out of every two cases of pneumonia.
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Walking Pneumonia Symptoms In Children
In children, walking pneumonia can also be a result of a persistent cold or respiratory syncytial virus . If either of these conditions last up to 10 days, then it is likely that the condition is turned into a case of walking pneumonia. The symptoms of walking pneumonia can be rapid or gradual, however, if the onset of symptoms is slow then these symptoms are likely to turn more severe. You should be looking for the following symptoms in your child if you suspect them catching walking pneumonia from their pals.
- Feeling tired or discomfort
- Cold-like symptoms, sore throat and headache
- Low-grade fever
It is important to note that these symptoms may vary depending upon the infected area of the respiratory tract. If the infection is primarily present in the upper or middle region of lungs, then having difficulty in breathing is a salient feature of walking pneumonia in children. On the contrary, if the pathogen is residing in the lower area of the lungs, then vomiting, nausea or diarrhea may be experienced by your kid.
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Causes And Signs Of Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia is caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria and it falls under the category of atypical pneumonia. Though it is a mild form of pneumonia, it can be bothersome, as it can linger for a month or more. The most apparent of the signs is cough. Hospitalization is not required to treat this condition. Only in very rare cases it becomes life-threatening.
It gets the name walking pneumonia, as the person is diagnosed with pneumonia, but apart from cough, very few symptoms exist and the person does not have to be hospitalized. The patient is effectively walking with pneumonia. The other pneumonia symptoms including sore throat, headache, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, etc., are rarely seen. In extreme cases, the person may suffer from an ear infection.
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What Is Pneumonia Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Pneumonia is a lower respiratory lung infection that causes inflammation in one or both lungs.
Air sacs in your lungs called alveoli can then fill up with fluid or pus, causing flu-like symptoms that can persist for weeks or cause rapid deterioration of breathing leading to hospitalization. Pneumonia doesnt respond to over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines.
Pneumonia comes in different forms and is caused primarily by bacteria or viruses, which are contagious, and less commonly by fungi or parasites.
The type of germ contributes to how serious the illness can become and how its treated. The severity of an infection depends on many factors, including your age and overall health, as well as where you may have acquired the illness.
Walking Pneumonia Vs Pneumonia: Risk Factors And Complications
Anyone can catch pneumonia, but certain groups may be at a higher risk to develop the respiratory condition than others. Walking pneumonia is commonly seen in older children and adults under 40. Individuals residing in crowded areas like schools, prisons, and shelters are at a higher risk of walking pneumonia. Smokers and those with chronic illness or a weakened immune system are also at a greater risk for contracting atypical pneumonia.
Risk factors for pneumonia include being a smoker, having a recent viral infection, experiencing difficulty swallowing , having chronic lung diseases, cerebral palsy, or another serious illness like heart disease or cirrhosis, living in a nursing facility, having impaired consciousness, recovering from a recent surgery or trauma, or having a weakened immune system.
Complications of pneumonia include difficulty breathing, bacteria entering the bloodstream causing a worsened infection, fluid accumulation around the lungs, and lung abscess where pus forms in the lung cavity.
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How Long Will A Person Be Contagious With Walking Pneumonia
Suppose a person has walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. In that case, they are considered contagious from two weeks to four weeks before the symptoms appear . During this time, they will not realize that they are contagious and spreading pneumonia. Once the symptoms start, they remain contagious until the symptoms end.
How Doctors May Treat Bronchitis That Turns Into Pneumonia
Treatment of pneumonia that has developed after bronchitis can vary depending on factors like age, severity of symptoms, and medical history. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend hospitalization, says Holguin.
If youre not experiencing breathing difficulties or other serious symptoms and your pneumonia is determined to be bacterial, you may be prescribed an oral antibiotic.
Your doctor may also test you for other infections, such as the flu, and depending on your symptoms and test results, recommend an antiviral medication, says Holguin.
If your doctor determines that your pneumonia can be treated at home, they may suggest the following:
- Drinking plenty of fluids, which can help loosen phlegm and clear it out of your body
- Getting lots of rest
- Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever or chest pain
If hospitalized for pneumonia, you may be given these treatments:
- Oxygen therapy and other breathing treatments
- Antimicrobial agents
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What Health Complications Can Pneumonia Lead To
If you have flu-like symptoms that persist or worsen despite treatment, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor can monitor your lungs while you inhale, listening for crackling sounds that are audible only with a stethoscope.
In order to confirm the diagnosis and identify the specific germ causing the illness, you may get a chest X-ray as well as a blood test, depending on your medical history and physical exam, if your doctor suspects that you have pneumonia.
If left untreated, pneumonia can become severe.
People with severe pneumonia experience higher fevers along with GI symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as:
- Difficulty breathing
Bottle Blowing And Salt Pipes
- In adults hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia, patients instructed to sit up and take 20 deep breaths 10 times daily or to sit up and blow bubbles in a bottle containing 10 mL of water through a plastic tube 20 times on 10 occasions daily experienced a significantly reduced length of hospitalization. The number of days with fever was lowest with bottle-blowing.
- Early mobilization itself decreases hospital stay in pneumonia patients.
- Despite positive clinical results, C-reactive protein levels, peak expiratory flow, and vital capacity were not affected.
- Changes in respiratory pressure associated with bottle blowing may provide an environment for more-efficient bacterial clearance.
- Decreased impairment of pulmonary function and increased total lung capacity manifests in patients who have undergone coronary artery bypass. This modality or a similar activity may decrease frequency and duration of respiratory events in patients vulnerable to respiratory infections.
- An alternative to bubble blowing is use of a salt pipe. These inhaler-type devices contain tiny salt particles said to ease breathing. The practice originated in central Europe, where respiratory patients spent time in salt caves or mines to relieve breathing problems.
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Walking Pneumonia Vs Pneumonia Differences In Symptoms Causes And Treatment
Atypical pneumonia, also known as walking pneumonia, is a form pneumonia, an infection of the lung, although there are important distinctions between the two varieties to keep in mind.
Back in the 1930s,pneumonia was actually the leading cause of death. Thanks to the modern medicine, most people under the age of 65 nowadays can endure pneumonia without any significant repercussions. Pneumonia is typically caused by infections and leads to the inflammation of the lungs. The air sacs in the lung fill with fluid, making it difficult to move oxygen to the bloodstream and to breathe.
Walking pneumonia is a type of pneumonia, an illness that affects the upper and lower respiratory tract. It is dubbed walking, because many patients dont even realize they have the condition because their daily living is not affected. Walking pneumonia does not involve hospitalization or bed rest as other types of pneumonia do, but still requires treatment to prevent complications.
How Are They Diagnosed
Most people with walking pneumonia dont go to the doctor because their symptoms are very mild. However, doctors use the same approach to diagnose both types of pneumonia.
To start, theyll likely listen to your lungs with a stethoscope to check for signs of a problem with your airways. They may also ask about your lifestyle, including the kind of environment you work in and whether you smoke.
In some cases, your doctor might use an X-ray look at your chest. This can help them differentiate between pneumonia and other conditions, such as bronchitis. Depending on your symptoms, they may also take a blood sample, swab your throat, or take a mucus culture to determine which type of bacteria is causing your symptoms.
THE MAIN DIFFERENCE:
The symptoms of walking pneumonia are often mild enough that people dont go to the doctor. If you do, however, your doctor will follow the same process for diagnosing either walking pneumonia or pneumonia.
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Questions About Your Symptoms
Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. A patient’s mental state may be confused or delirious.
The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days. Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.
Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy. Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.
When to call a doctor
What Can I Do To Prevent Walking Pneumonia
To prevent others from getting walking pneumonia:
Try to stay away from other people if you are coughing a lot.
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Itâs easy to pass along this infection to other people through coughing. And also through contact with surfaces that you cough near.
Wipe off surfaces with antibacterial or disinfectant products. This includes phones, remote controls, and doorknobs.
Always put used tissues in a waste basket.
Tell people to wash their hands if they touch things you have coughed near.
Wash your hands often. Wash them before handling food or objects that others may touch. Use a separate towel or paper towels for drying. Scrub with warm water and soap for up to 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you cant wash your hands.
Ask your healthcare provider about getting the flu and pneumonia vaccines. These will help even if there is no vaccine to prevent walking pneumonia infections. Take steps to prevent colds and other lung infections.
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Who Gets Walking Pneumonia
As we discussed earlier, walking pneumonia is common in people who are routinely exposed to crowded places. Similarly, children who are in their school-going age and adults, younger than 40 years of age, are generally most likely to suffer from walking pneumonia. However, this doesnt mean that people belong to other age groups and social environment cannot get walking pneumonia.
It is also worth mentioning that to catch walking pneumonia, one generally needs to be exposed to the M. pneumoniae multiple times. Often, it is observed that the cases of pneumonia peak during late summer or fall seasons however you can contract walking pneumonia pathogen anytime during the year.
Chronic Bronchitis Vs Copd
A chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation is another issue entirely when compared to chronic bronchitis. A COPD exacerbation is simply an acute worsening of the symptoms of COPD, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, mucus production, or coughing.
Depending on the kind of COPD a person has , these symptoms may be slightly different.
Patients with chronic bronchitis generally have more mucus production and cough, whereas people with emphysema have more shortness of breath, although either type of COPD can cause any number of these symptoms.
A COPD exacerbation may be caused by an infection , but it may also be caused by non-infectious causes such as fumes, irritants, or smoke.
The treatment for an acute COPD exacerbation is often steroids, inhalers, and antibiotics .
If you have chronic bronchitis or COPD and experience worsening of your symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. They will be able to determine the correct treatment for you.
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When To See A Doctor
If you feel like you have either bronchitis or pneumonia, its always a good idea to check in with your doctor. If the underlying cause is bacterial, you should start feeling much better within a day or two of starting antibiotics.
Otherwise, call your doctor if your cough or wheezing doesnt improve after two weeks.
You should also seek immediate medical care if you notice:
- blood in your phlegm
- a fever over 100.4°F that lasts for more than a week
- shortness of breath
Symptoms Of Chest Infections
Pneumonia is more common in winter and spring. It can strike suddenly or come on slowly over a few days. The symptoms will depend on your age, the cause and severity of the infection, and any other medical problems you may have. Symptoms include:
- Fast or difficult breathing
- Coughing with brown or green-coloured phlegm
- Blue colour around the lips
- Stomach pain
- A child may vomit, have diarrhoea and be irritable or lethargic.
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Genes Linked To Walking Pneumonia
The link between genetics and pneumonia is still uncertain. There is even less information specifically about walking pneumonia, but a couple of studies shed some light on it:
- Certain genetic variants in genes that affect the immune response can make some people more vulnerable to the bacteria that cause pneumonia. For example, the gene TLR2 codes for receptors involved in fighting bacterial infections. Variants at one of its SNPs were linked to dangerous Legionella infections and with other types of pneumonia .
- Another study discovered that genetic changes involved in the immune recognition of cells may play a role in triggering the autoimmune response that causes serious health complications in pneumonia .