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Antibiotics for Walking Pneumonia

Antibiotics for Walking Pneumonia

Walking pneumonia is a mild kind of pneumonia that feels more like a cold than pneumonia. You don't need excess rest or hospitalization and can go on with your work. This is why it is called atypical pneumonia or walking pneumonia. It is a common infection in which air sacs in one or both the lungs get inflamed. As a result, the air sacs fill with fluid and in turn, cause a productive cough.

Who is at Risk For Walking Pneumonia?

People who are over 65 years old and those under two years of age are at a higher risk for pneumonia, though it can infect anyone. Also, those with poor immunity levels, smokers and long term users of immunosuppressant drugs are at a higher risk. It can also affect those with conditions like COPD.

Walking Pneumonia Symptoms

Major symptoms for walking pneumonia include:

  • sore throat
  • inflammation in the windpipe
  • dry and persistent cough
  • Productive cough
  • intermittent headache

Though these symptoms are similar to common cold, they tend to last much longer. Typically, when these symptoms last for more than a week, it could mean you have walking pneumonia.

Other symptoms include:

  • chills
  • labored breathing if the infection is in upper respiratory tract
  • wheezing
  • chest pain
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your doctor will begin with a basic physical examination and is likely to suggest a chest X-ray. This X-ray is the best way to distinguish between walking pneumonia and acute bronchitis. Some doctors may want to test a sample of mucus from your lungs called sputum. A throat swab and complete blood count are other ways to test for walking pneumonia.


If the doctor identifies your condition as bacterial walking pneumonia, antibiotics are prescribed based on the type of bacteria that caused the infection.

Additionally, home care tips are prescribed. Common things that are recommended at home include:

  • drinking lots of fluids
  • getting extra rest
  • taking hot showers so the steam can thin and reduce congestion

Hospitalization is usually not necessary for walking pneumonia unless the infected person belongs to one of the high-risk groups mentioned above. If the infected person does belong to the high infection group, then you can expect antibiotic therapy, intravenous fluid and even respiratory therapy if needed, at the hospital.

Pneumonia is contagious and an infected person can spread it to others within a 10-day period when the infection tends to be most severe. This is something to keep in mind if you have seniors or young children in the same house as an infected person.

How PlushCare Works

You can video chat or talk on the phone with a world-class PlushCare doctor who will listen to your symptoms. Based on observations and your explanation, the doctor may refer you for a chest X-ray or blood test. Your results can be sent electronically to the doctor who will then treat you with either antibiotics or may simply recommend some home care tips.

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Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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