How Common Is Pneumonia
Approximately 1 million adults in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia and 50,000 die from the disease. It is the second most common reason for being admitted to the hospital childbirth is number one. Pneumonia is the most common reason children are admitted to the hospital in the United States. Seniors who are hospitalized for pneumonia face a higher risk of death compared to any of the top 10 other reasons for hospitalization.
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Who Can Get Walking Pneumonia
Anyone can get walking pneumonia. Walking pneumonia due to mycoplasma is most commonly seen in children, military recruits, and adults younger than 40 years.
People who live and work in most congested areas like schools, dorms, military barracks, and nursing homes are more likely to contact it. The most common times of the year at which walking pneumonia can occur are late summer and fall however, infections can happen throughout the year.
The people who come under the following criteria can be affected easily by walking pneumonia:
Over the age of 65 years.
Two years old or younger.
People living with respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , etc.
People who use inhaled corticosteroids for an extended period.
People who smoke tobacco.
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented
Check with your healthcare provider about getting immunizations. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia. Because of that, getting a flu shot every year can help prevent both the flu and pneumonia.
There is also a pneumococcal vaccine. It will protect you from a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Children younger than age 5 and adults ages 65 and older should get this shot.
The pneumococcal shot is also recommended for all children and adults who are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease due to other health conditions.
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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.
Articles On Pneumonia Types
âWalking pneumonia” sounds like it could be the name of a sci-fi horror flick. But it’s actually the least scary kind of pneumonia. It can be milder than the other types, and you usually donât have to stay in the hospital. You could have walking pneumonia and not even know it.
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What Is Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia is a mild form of pneumonia . This non-medical term has become a popular description because you may feel well enough to be walking around, carrying out your daily tasks and not even realize you have pneumonia.
Most of the time, walking pneumonia is caused by an atypical bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which can live and grow in the nose, throat, windpipe and lungs . It can be treated with antibiotics.
Scientists call walking pneumonia caused by mycoplasma atypical because of the unique features of the bacteria itself. Several factors that make it atypical include:
- Milder symptoms
- Natural resistance to medicines that would normally treat bacterial infections
- Often mistaken for a virus because they lack the typical cell structure of other bacteria
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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How Does The Doctor Know If I Have Walking Pneumonia
Some cases of walking pneumonia are never diagnosed because people don’t seek medical help. If you do go to the doctor, the diagnosis will depend on your medical history and the results of a physical exam. The doctor will start by asking you about your symptoms and how long you have had them. The doctor may also ask you about where you work and whether anyone at home or at work is also sick.
During the physical, the doctor will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. The doctor may also ask for a chest X-ray and a blood test. There is a blood test that can specifically identify a mycoplasma infection. It’s seldom done, though, unless there is a widespread outbreak that’s being studied. Another blood test is used that identifies the increased presence of certain immune substances called cold agglutinins. This test won’t confirm that you have walking pneumonia, but it can suggest it.
Ginger Or Turmeric Tea
A persistent cough can result in chest pain. Drinking warm tea made with fresh ginger or turmeric root may help reduce this pain.
The roots of both of these plants can have a natural anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
Chop up a thumb sized piece of either root and boil it in a pint or so of water. If a person prefers strong tea, they can boil it for longer or add more of the root. If the flavor is too sharp, they can try adding a spoonful of honey.
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Walking Pneumonia: 101 For Parents
Have you heard the term walking pneumonia and wondered, What in the world?
Walking pneumonia is a common illness in children. You may also hear your doctor refer to it as atypical pneumonia. It is an infection of the lungs, but tends to be a less serious form than typical pneumonia.
Kids who have walking pneumonia often look pretty good. Instead of being sacked out on the couch, theyre up and walking aroundthats where the illness gets its name. However, it is caused by a bacteria and needs proper treatment in order to clear it up.
Frequently Asked Questions About Walking Pneumonia
Here are the questions I most often answer about walking pneumonia:
S To Prevent Walking Pneumonia
Since walking pneumonia is often spread by coughing and sneezing, you can help prevent the transmission of germs by covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, whether with a tissue or your upper sleeve.
In order to stay healthy, you should also:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
- Dont smoke .
- Take steps to help boost your immune system by getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
- Avoid exposure to others who are sick.
In particular, people who have underlying lung disease should be careful and have a heightened awareness of what steps to take to prevent walking pneumonia. Don’t downplay a cough. If you need expert care, we are here for you at your neighborhood ER.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
- Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
- What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
- What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
- What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
- Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
- Do I need any vaccines?
Causes And Risk Factors For Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia is often described as atypical since it doesnt resemble regular pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is different because:
- The infection sometimes doesnt even affect the lungs
- The bacteria that causes it often doesnt respond to typical antibiotics
This was so unusual that scientists thought that its not even caused by a bacteria for a while, but by other microbes. Today we know that, unlike viral pneumonia, bacteria are indeed to blame for walking pneumonia.
Several bacteria can cause walking pneumonia, including the following:
- Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which causes the majority of infections. AllMycoplasma bacteria are very small and dont have a cell wall. Their proteins can trigger a strong autoimmune response that can spread to various organs in the body .
- Chlamydophila pneumoniae is much less dangerous and causes mild symptoms. But if left untreated, it can lead to heart and blood vessel diseases .
- Legionella pneumophila causes serious symptoms. Luckily, it is less frequent than the previous two. If it progresses, the disease is no longer walking but becomes a severe form of pneumonia called Legionnaires disease .
All three types are contagious and can spread, especially in closed communities and households. Children, the elderly, people with a history of lung problems, or those with poor immunity are at the highest risk .
Pneumonia Can Be Serious But Not Always
A case of pneumonia doesnt necessarily require a hospital stay: If you are diagnosed with pneumonia but your symptoms arent severe, your doctor may direct you to manage it at home.
COVID-19 aside, bacterial pneumonia can be more serious than viral pneumonia unless you have a case of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae, often referred to as walking pneumonia, the non-medical term for atypical pneumonia. Although its often mild, atypical pneumonia can still make you feel pretty bad and can also be spread to others.
What Else You Need To Know
Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections are rarely serious. They respond well to antibiotic treatment, and they typically clear up even without treatment. Deaths are most common in older adults or in people with other health conditions, including sickle cell disease.
People who have already had a Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection do develop some immunity. But this usually doesn’t last for a lifetime. A second infection from the bacteria is possible, but the illness is likely to be a milder version.
To request an appointment with a physician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, call or or email us.
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Walking Pneumonia Vs Bronchitis Symptoms
Both bronchitis and walking pneumonia have similar symptoms, but the two diseases are not the same. Bronchitis affects the bronchial tubes, not the small airways of the lungs.
Bronchitis symptoms may include:
- runny, stuffy nose
- shortness of breath
The main difference is that the recovery time tends to be shorter with acute bronchitis than with pneumonia. But recovering from chronic bronchitis may take a long time.
What Causes Pneumonia
Most cases of pneumonia are caused by:
- They are the most common cause of pneumonia in adults. They can cause pneumonia on their own, or after youve had a cold or the flu. Bacterial pneumonia usually only affects one area of a lung.
- Any virus that affects the respiratory tract can cause pneumonia. This includes the flu virus and the virus that causes the common cold. In children under 1 year old, the respiratory syncytial virus is the most common cause. Viral pneumonia tends to be mild. It often gets better on its own in 1 to 3 weeks.
- Some fungal infections can lead to pneumonia, especially in people with weakened immune systems. There are also some fungi that occur in the soil in certain parts of the United States that can lead to pneumonia.
You can also get pneumonia through aspiration. This is when you inhale particles into your lungs. These could be food, saliva, liquids, or vomit. It occurs most often after vomiting, and you are not strong enough to cough the particles out. The particles cause irritation, swelling and can get infected. This causes pneumonia.
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How Are They Treated
Many cases of walking pneumonia dont require treatment. To help your body heal, its best to rest as much as possible and stay hydrated. If you have a fever, you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You can also ask your doctor about taking an antibiotic.
Pneumonia and more serious cases of walking pneumonia may need additional treatment, such as:
- oxygen to assist with breathing
- intravenous fluids
- breathing treatments to help loosen the mucus in your airways
- corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
THE MAIN DIFFERENCE:
Walking pneumonia often doesnt require treatment, though some cases may need antibiotics. Pneumonia may require additional treatment to improve breathing and reduce inflammation in your airways.
When To Call The Doctor
You should call your childs doctor if your child:
- Has trouble breathing or is breathing much faster than usual
- Has a bluish or gray color to the fingernails or lips
- Is older than 6 months and has a fever over 102°F
- Is younger than 6 months and has a temperature over 100.4°F.
- Has a fever for more than a few days after taking antibiotics
When your child should stay home and return to school or childcare
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.
Home Remedies For Treatment Of Symptoms
There are some ways to help treat the symptoms of walking pneumonia at home. Here are some methods that might help make you more comfortable:
- Drink herbal teas with a few drops of lemon juice several times a day for a few days.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
- Use a vapor rub on your nose and chest to help open up your clogged respiratory tract.
- Rest as much as you can.
- Maintain a healthy diet, avoiding sugar, fried foods, and highly refined carbohydrates.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications for body aches and fever.
- Drink fresh vegetable juices.
The following are herbal remedies that have not been scientifically proven to provide reliable treatment for walking pneumonia, though they have helped some people find relief.
No matter what, if your symptoms do not go away or start to get worse, make sure you see your doctor.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Walking Pneumonia
Symptoms from walking pneumonia are usually pretty mild. In fact, most people have so few symptoms that they dont ever see a healthcare provider. This may mean that theyre never diagnosed with walking pneumonia at all.
Typically, people with walking pneumonia start off having symptoms very similar to a common cold or viral upper respiratory tract infection. These symptoms include:
How Is Walking Pneumonia Treated
Walking pneumonia is usually mild, does not require hospitalization and is treated with antibiotics . Several types of antibiotics are effective. Antibiotics that are used to treat walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae include:
- Macrolide antibiotics: Macrolide drugs are the preferred treatment for children and adults. Macrolides include azithromycin and clarithromycin . Over the past decade, some strains of Mycoplasma pneumoniae have become resistant to macrolide antibiotics, possibly due to the widespread use of azithromycin to treat various illnesses.
- Fluoroquinolones: These drugs include ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin . Fluoroquinolones are not recommended for young children.
- Tetracyclines: This group includes doxycycline and tetracycline. They are suitable for adults and older children.
Often, over-the-counter medications can also be taken to help relieve symptoms of nasal congestion, cough and loosen mucus buildup in the chest. If you have a fever:
- Drink more fluids
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