Pneumonia is a respiratory disease and atypical or walking pneumonia is a type that is considered less dangerous than the normal pneumonia. When someone suffers from pneumonia, he or she should be hospitalized immediately. A person who suffers from walking pneumonia, on the other hand, is usually unaware that he is affected by the disease. Thus he usually walks around with it, and hence the name. The disease is usually caused by several types of bacteria such as Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Coxiella burnetii. It can also be caused by viruses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Adenovirus.
What are the symptoms of walking pneumonia? The symptoms are similar to those of pneumonia. These include chest pain, headache, cough, fatigue, fever, and sore throat. These symptoms affect the body gradually and it takes about three weeks to reach the full effect. They are commonly not severe and it makes the patients think that they are just symptoms of a mild flu. Thus, patients usually continue their daily activities with no hassle.
What are the causes of this disease? Like any other viral or bacterial diseases, it is contagious then it spreads easily in crowded places. Public places like shopping malls, public transportation, and schools provide the ideal breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. If someone suffices from walking pneumonia, he or she can spread the germs by coughing or sneezing, or through close contact like kissing. Since the symptoms are mild, many people with the disease do not realize that they have it in their body and they walk around in public places. This disease primarily affects adults, teens and children older than five years old.
How to diagnose the disease? Chest x-ray is the only way to diagnose it. The test will help doctors examine the inflated lungs and the alveoli that are filled with fluid. By examining the fluid distribution, the physicians will be able to determine the type of pneumonia the patient has. A blood test is then performed to determine the causes of the illness.
What are treatment options available? The treatment actually depends on the causes of the disease. If it is caused by a bacterial infection, the patient will have to take antibiotics such as doxycycline or azithromycin for three to ten days. On the other hand, antibiotic treatment will not be effective for viral infection. Patients are also usually advised to have more rest and drink plenty of liquid. To help speed up recovery, doctors may also prescribe some supplements such as vitamin C, acidophilus, and zinc. Natural remedies are also available such as green tea with lemon, onion, garlic, and fish oil.