What is Walking Pneumonia?
Walking pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that is typically not debilitating, meaning you can typically carry on with your day, hence the name “walking pneumonia.”
For this same reason it is also called atypical pneumonia because it doesn’t cause the usual symptoms of pneumonia that can lead to bed rest and in some cases even hospitalization.
In fact, walking pneumonia is often undiagnosed and confused for the common cold.
Walking pneumonia is usually a bacterial infection and is due to Mycoplasma pneumonia. 2 million people in the United States are afflicted each year.
Walking Pneumonia Recovery Time
Walking pneumonia recovery time is anywhere from a week to a month. The time it takes to recover is dependent on the cause, the severity, as well as the individual’s immune system and environment.
For example, those with an autoimmune disease may have a more serious case and therefore a harder time recovering.
Also those who are unable to get adequate rest due to a hectic work schedule or other stressors may take a longer time to recover.
Types of Walking Pneumonia Linked to Recovery Time
As mentioned, the type of walking pneumonia will impact how long it takes to recover. Below are two common causes of walking pneumonia:
- Mycoplasma pneumonia — Mycoplasma pneumonia is not viral or bacterial but has characteristics of both. It is considered atypical bacterial pneumonia and it usually presents a milder case and typically affects school aged children and young adults.
Because it is usually less severe, and it doesn’t typically affect vulnerable groups such as infants and the elderly, the recovery time is usually less than 2 weeks. It is the most common type of walking pneumonia, causing about 10 out of every 50 cases.
- Chlamydophila pneumonia — Is a type of bacteria that causes walking pneumonia. It is more commonly spread through schools and therefore affects school aged children. An estimated 300,000 people in the United States are afflicted with these bacteria per year. With prompt antibiotic treatment symptoms can subside within a couple weeks.
In addition to the cause of walking pneumonia, the recovery time will depend on the individual. Some people are at higher risk of walking pneumonia and therefore may have a more difficult time fighting it off.
Those at Risk of Walking Pneumonia
If you are at risk of pneumonia it probably means your immune system is compromised in some way. This not only makes you more susceptible to walking pneumonia but unfortunately it also means you will have a more difficult recovery.
Your walking pneumonia recovery time will likely be longer depending on your risk level. Typically higher risk correlates to longer recovery.
The following individuals are at higher risk for walking pneumonia and may take longer to recover:
- Those who are 65 and older
- Those who are 2 years or younger
- Those who are ill
- Those suffering from an autoimmune disease such as HIV/AIDS
- Long-term users of immunosuppressant drugs
- Those living with a respiratory condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Those who have long-term usage of inhaled corticosteroids
- Those who smoke tobacco
- Stroke survivors who have swallowing problems or are bedridden. (Small amounts of liquids in the lungs from improper swallowing can build up and lead to walking pneumonia.)
- Those with weakened immune systems due to disease or medications
- People who smoke, abuse drugs and alcohol
- People with asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes or heart failure
Because there is such a wide range of risk factors it is hard to generalize a recovery time. Therefore it is recommended you see a doctor to ensure you are on the best treatment plan for your specific case.
It’s also important to remember that even after pneumonia is gone, the body still has to clear out left over mucus from the lungs, meaning a productive cough may linger for several weeks. You may also feel tired as your immune system strengthens itself.
If you think you walking pneumonia book an appointment with a PlushCare physician today to get a prescription online.
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