Walking Pneumonia

Walking pneumonia is a mild form of pneumonia, so called because the infected individual is usually able to walk around with the disease and may not even be aware he or she has it. It is most often caused by a strain of bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae, or M. pneumonia for short, although it can also be caused by viruses rather than bacteria. Also known as atypical pneumonia because it is different from the more serious, “typical” forms of pneumonia, walking pneumonia generally works its way out of the system in fewer than three or four weeks, producing acute rather than chronic symptoms.

The symptoms of walking pneumonia are similar to those of more serious forms of pneumonia, but with less severity. These include fatigue, cough, fever, chills and/or sweating, chest pain, headache and sore throat. Often the cough is dry, but may produce phlegm as the disease progresses and begins to clear its way out of the body. The symptoms come on more gradually than they do in other forms of pneumonia, sometimes taking up to three weeks to reach their full effect. Because the symptoms are generally not severe, those infected often consider them to be indicative of a simple chest cold or mild flu, and continue their daily routines without disruption.

Walking pneumonia is contagious and therefore is often spread where there are crowds of people, such as at work or school, shopping malls, shelters, public transportation and the like, as well as within homes and between family members. It can be spread via the air when infected individuals sneeze or cough, as well as through kissing and other forms of close contact. Because the symptoms are generally mild and those infected don’t realize they have it, there may be numerous people with the disease in public places at any given time. Widespread outbreaks generally occur every four to eight years, though the reasons for this are not known. Children younger than 5 appear to be less susceptible to this form of pneumonia, as it primarily affects older children, teens, and adults in their 20s and 30s. More males than females are reported to contract the disease.

What is Walking Pneumonia?

Although pneumonia can be a very serious illness, Walking Pneumonia is actually the mildest form that you could suffer from. Most people who contract Walking Pneumonia do not have to be hospitalized and many don’t even know that they have pneumonia at all. Another term for Walking Pneumonia is atypical pneumonia. Pneumonia attacks the lungs and can be caused by many different things, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Fungi
  • Chemicals
  • Inhaled Foods

How is Walking Pneumonia Spread?

Walking Pneumonia can be experienced by anyone of any age. Mycoplasma is a common cause of the illness and usually affects people between their teenage years through age 40.
Walking Pneumonia is highly contagious and spreads rampantly in close quarters. Schools, shelters, and prisons are notorious places to catch Walking Pneumonia. The disease is spread through droplets which mean it is spread through haphazard coughing and sneezing.
Walking Pneumonia is most commonly caught in the summer and fall seasons. The contagious periods of the disease usually run for 10 days and major outbreaks usually happen every four to eight years.


Some people who are feeling ill and have atypical pneumonia do not even know they have it. Many people never feel bad enough to go to the doctor to have any diagnostic testing and may think they are suffering with the flu or allergies. When you do go to the doctor, his testing will depend on your personal history and your symptoms. Often, the doctor will need to know how long your symptoms have persisted, what type of environment you work in, and if you have a history of any illnesses.

At the doctor’s appointment your doctor will want to conduct a physical. He will listen to your chest and your lungs to see if there is any fluid present. He may also, order a chest x-ray and blood work. Different types of blood tests can detect specific markers for Walking Pneumonia. One test is used specifically for mycoplasma infections. Another test detects immune substances that can indicate the presence of Walking Pneumonia.

The ways in which walking pneumonia may be treated depend on whether it’s caused by bacteria or a virus. People infected with the bacteria will respond well to antibiotic treatment such as azithromycin or doxycycline, for durations between three to ten days. If the walking pneumonia is caused by a virus, antibiotics will be ineffective against the disease. In any case, regardless of whether the causal micro-organism is bacterial or viral, walking pneumonia rarely progresses to a more serious form of the disease. Often, additional rest and drinking plenty of fluids are sufficient treatments to allow the body to recuperate more quickly. Even without these treatments, in otherwise healthy individuals the walking pneumonia typically works its way out of the system within four weeks from the initial onset of symptoms. Cough suppressants are not recommended, as they inhibit clearing the lungs of phlegm. Periods of steaming with non-chlorinated water may provide relief and help loosen the mucous in the lungs which can then be more easily coughed up.

If you are interested in helping others treat walking pneumonia, consider a healthcare degree from Sacred Heart University online and get started today.

Supplements and Natural Remedies
Some dietary supplements and natural remedies that may provide especially beneficial in aiding recovery from walking pneumonia include the following:

  • Glutathione
  • Vitamin C
  • Echinacea
  • Green tea, with lemon and/or ginger
  • Zinc
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Acidophilus
  • Fish oil
  • Daily multivitamin with minerals

Also, infected individuals should reduce their dairy intake, as dairy causes increased mucous production that may thicken the fluids in the lungs.


  • Karen Smith says:

    I’ve had walking pneumonia for the last two months. It’s been hard for me to deal with it as its been taking a toll on me in a bad way. I hope I recover soon and never get diagnosed with walking pneumonua in my life ever again.

    • Barbara says:

      Hi, I have had this wierd thing for 3 weeks. Dr. called it upper respiratory. I am weak and chest is full of stuff. Do you have weakness?

      • Joe says:

        My Dr. called it the same thing, and upper respiratory virus. I have had it for 2 weeks now and it isn’t getting any better. Same symptoms, weakness, coughing, chest pain and sore throat. Sure feels like walking pneumonia to me.

  • george says:

    i had a bad cough and fevers. my wife kept asking me to see a doc and I was too chicken to make an appointment. Lucky for me, my wife called the doctor and literally made me go to the doctor. I was informed that I had a bad case of walking pneumonuia. I’m taking my antibiotics now and have felt a little better but just feel as tough i have a hard recovery ahead.

  • giano medusa says:

    i have been sick for almost 4 weeks. I need to visit a doctor after I read this website. I was thinking it was only a cough but now I think its walking pneumonia. I’m 68 years old healthy male and have never been ill.

  • Leigh Anne says:

    I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia six days ago. I am 42, an ICU RN, and this is the sickest I have ever been! I am praying I am well enough to go back to work next week. The cough and fatigue have been the worst to deal with. I am on zithromax and it seems, I think, to be working. Praying for all of you who posted as well.

    • Barbara says:

      Hi sorry you are sick, someone to does so much for others!
      Question, the doctor “listened” to my lungs said they “sound” clear. My nephew tells me you can’t “hear” if a person has WP…so, question, I have coughed for 3 weeks, never sick, live in the dry climate now have been in Md with all it’s water for 2 months. I am a worker bee, and run a nonprofit taking care of women with cancer, so be that as it may, I am sick. Twice to the Dr. given the Z pac and still weak/coughing/etc. no fever. Some sweats, and not really good enough to do much.??? what do I do now. thanks and feel better

      • Warren Pugh says:

        With a stethoscope they can hear, and there are times when even you can hear if you listen to a subtle wheeze. Your doctor might even let you listen as they do some children.

        I wish you well.

      • Ria says:

        It could also be asthma. Maryland has many allergens that aren’t present in many drier climates. That would easily explain both the clear sounding lungs and the lack of feeling better on a Zpack. Your doctor should have considered this, and I’m rather shocked that he/she didn’t.

  • Amber says:

    Walking pneumonia is hard but I too was diagnosed with it last month. My doc put me on zithromax and I was feeling better within few days. I feel completely good now (thank God) and hope never will diagnosed with WP. Best to all who are currently coping with it.

  • g985 says:

    I was lucky enough to find out on Saturday from our fam doc. I was told it was very early and that I will feel better quickly. I only took the antibotics for one day and already feel better

  • Kendall j says:

    I got diagnosed monday with bacterial pneumonia…i was
    Having chest pains for about week then friday the sharp pains in my
    Side begin…went thru ER…where they didnt nothin but take the pain away
    For a few hours with morphine and lower my blood pressure
    To low…i saw my primary care doctor on monday he took xrays
    Ultrasound and ran some bloodtests..so that pain in my left side was
    Coming from left lower lung…

  • Donna says:

    i figured out from my doctor that i had walking penumiona about 3 days ago, i have never really felt sick ive only had a bad cough for about 3 weeks. I have to take a puffer so i dont cough and i take pills. But either way this has not effected my everyday routene, i have always been feeling fine mabye a ittle weird at times for for the most part fine.

  • Lilly says:

    wheew, i feel much better after being diagnosed with walking pneumonia in mid july. It took me a while to fight the disease but I did and feel great today for the first time in over two weeks!!!

  • Tiffani says:

    I had walking pneumonia in February of this year and was miserable for close to a month. however, when i went to the dr they diagnosed me with it on a wednesday and told me i could go back to school the next day and on my 5 day check up the dr told me that i had fought it off quicker than anybody he’d ever seen. im afraid that im getting it again:( i start back to school on monday of next week so im hoping i dont have it.

    • Mr Cat says:

      You sound like you had walking pneumonia and probably contaminated your surroundings. Walking pneumonia is contagious so coughing contaminates things around you and things you’ve touched. Your environment needs to be sterilized to stop the cycle of reoccurrence do to the spreading the bacteria on common things you touch frequently.

      To start, always wash your hands as often as possible while sick. This is the best way to stop spreading any bacteria around. Cover your mouth while coughing.

      Then, use a Lysol Spray product, one that kills virus and bacteria, to freshen the air throughout the house. Change out the home’s air conditioning filter with a new filter as well.

      After that, use a cleaning solution that contains virus and bacteria sterilizers and use to sterilize door handles, toilet handles, drawer knobs, light switches, facet fixtures, car door handles, steering wheel, shifter, radio knobs, cell phone, telephone , buttons handle, car keys, remote controls for the TV, basically sterilize anything you’ve touched and retouch regularly.

      You can use wips that have steralization agents in them or even a mix of bleach and water will do the trick.

      The bacteria will eventually die but can live on for several days before that happens, so the need to sterilize is very important. Do this repeatedly, several times as your getting better.

      Wash your bed sheets, changing them often. Lightly spray the pillows without the cases on them with a light mist of Lysol will also help. Do not get them damp. This helps tremendously while sleeping as well since the cases are so contaminated.

      Please note that Lysol products can damage surfaces so do not spray heavily onto objects where this can happen. Just lightly spray in the air and let filter down. Plastic items will desolve their coating if lysol is sprayed heavely onto them so be careful.

      I would also recommend sterilization of your hair brushes and tooth brushes as well. Wipe down all containers you use in the bathroom.

      Sounds like over kill but once over the infection and your environment is serial you will recover much quicker and feel so much better. Good luck.

  • Sandra says:

    I started feeling bad about a week ago, earaches, sore throat, and coming back from a vacation, I felt shortness of breath, I thought I was having a panic attack. Four days later, I end up in the ER with bad pain in my chest and my head felt like it was going to explode, I had shortness of breath. They ran ct scans and x-rays and just gave me medication for pain and nausea. I followed up with my doctor yesterday and told me that I have walking pnumenoia. I was prescribed zithromax and augmenten and have to do breathing treatments with neubilizer. I still feel somewhat weak and have the headaches, and shortness of breath, will the shortness of breath eventually go away.

  • Dima says:

    I have been treated for very bed bronchitis with augmenten cough syrup and stereotypes . My doc didn’t make x-ray at all . Now after a week I finish all medication still cough with mucus and feel tight in my chest / front and back/ and no energy . Is that the symptoms from walking phnemonia?

    • veronica says:

      Most likely its actually pretty funny because on my fist trip to the the doctor he diagnosed me with bronchites and gave me cough syrup and pills to treat it and after 2 weeks the symptoms of tight chest, caugh, and mucus wouldnt go away, so after a 2 trip to the doctor he said that having a caugh for more than 2 weeks isnt normal and that theres a good chance of what i have being walking phenomeia and that the best thing to do is taking and x-ray of my chest area. All i would suggest is that if after a week of having this and still having the same symptoms to go to your doctor explain your symptoms and getting some x-rays done thats the only secure way of knowing what you may have. Also another thing is that lots of people mistake walking phenomeia with asmatic bronchities because they have the same symptoms, so try the getting the x-ray its the only way to get out of dout.

  • Lacey says:

    I have been coughing for about 2 and a half months. Tried taking amxicillin. It did nothing. I have had chest pain,fever and weakness. I have been to the emergency room and to my family phisician twice. Any advice

  • Grace says:

    I have walking pneumonia and i have been sick for 2 weeks and I went to the doctor today and I have a ear enfection too! I had a head ach from coughing so it hurt really bad Ughh I hate this last week I had a fever I was sleeping every day all day I have watched every Christmas show I think hahaha
    And I’m only 12!

  • Tammie says:

    I had what I thought was a normal cold the weekend of Thanksgiving. I have yet to kick my cough. I’m having almost no mucous. I’ve ben trying to figure out why I still have this crud. Maybe it’s time to visit the doc again

  • Jamie Amos says:

    A vitamin C megadose will cure you in one week. 20 GRAMS daily. Take 1000mg hourly. You will know when your system is saturated with the vitamin because you’ll have intestinal gas and loose bowels. That’s temporary and is still better than feeling awful.

  • veronica says:

    Ive actually had this for 3 and a half months and i still have it to this day all the symptoms listed are exactly the ones i had and its true even if you take over the counter medications it wont work to help any of the symptoms Going to get some x-rays done tomorow on my chest area to see whats going on :/

  • JOyce says:

    I have had WP in Sept. and have it again now. It took me three trip to DR in Sept. I have had it for two wks now, shots, antibiotic, on puffer, i still have whezzing in my chest, fatigue, weakness. I starated on some cough med at nite and hope it is breaking up in my chest. The fatigue is awful, tired when you get up. I may be going back to dr soon if not better. Everyone take care of yourself.

  • Ronnie says:

    What’s the name of the steroid that was prescribed? I have walking pnumonia again it seems and I need same mess to get rid of it again ( sighs) :(

  • Colette says:

    Was diagnosed today with Walking Pneumonia-Been coughing since Thanksgiving. I have allergies and asthma. Usually fine once ground is covered by snow.NEED SNOW BAD!Got the pneumonia shot 1 month ago? Hope to be feeling better soon,sooo sick of hacking away.Zithromax,Pro-Air ,Flo-Vent and Zyrtec.

  • James says:

    Well I must really be crazy ive been sent for an xray. I havent goon yet, am going tomorrow. Ive had a dry cough for 2 1/4 months that comes and goes, now its the worst its ever been. Im starting to think I should go after reading the comments. Hope that you all have a full recovery.. God Is Good..

  • dmui2004 says:

    Just been diagnosed with Walking Pneumonia. I don’t ever hope to feel this way again. If this is a mild form of Pneumonia, God help us. Every inch of my body hurts. Running a very low fever and sometimes no fever. My throat is inflammed as well as my lungs. Shallow breathing keeps me from coughing. If I cough, it hurts. I have zero energy. I’m crawaling in bed for three days and minding the doctor. Take care of yourself.

  • aj says:

    Have had all the symptoms and I would be ok with the coughing if it didnt HURT so bad…strong pain in my chest when coughing or even blowing my nose now. Had the x-ray they said it wasn’t pneumonia but put me on a z-pac and albuterol. (my husband s a doc , he told me that they just didn’t want to scare me or something but by symptom definition I had Walking pneumonia) Second day of antibiotic and hoping it takes this pain away soon. I am also taking aleve. Didnt think it was doing anything cuz it still hurts when I cough but I missed a dose and could harldy lift my arm it hurt so bad on that side. Tired of this and ready for it to GO! (Doctors need to be more consistent in diagnosis I think)

  • kathie says:

    Is it possible to have WP and only have chest pain as a symptom?

    • Denise says:

      I went to the doctor 4 weeks ago with severe pain in my side. I’ve had pluerisy in the past and knew that it was what I had. The doctor did a chest xray and confirmed that pneumonia was the cause of the pleurisy. I had no other symptoms…. no fever, chills, cough, sore throat, etc. Just pain. I’ve felt pretty good other than a slight tightness when I breathe in and I’m very tired. So, yes, Kathie, you could have walking pnuemonia with only chest pain as a symptom. It’s best to contact your doctor if you haven’t already. Best of luck!

  • Brenda bean says:

    I was diagnosed yesterday after being sick 3 days with temperature of 102 sometimes not falling down past 100 with acetaminophen. blood pressure normal or even lower than normal and without any coughing at all. symptoms also included aches and pains chills and shooting pains in arms and legs, aching joints horrible headache. I thought it was the flu but I already had a flu shot. reiterate no coughing. I knew something was up when they took my o 2 levels twice. I am off work now for another 3 days for a total of 5 days missed from my factory job. I have to put in for short term disability considering my company has no fault sick days. symptoms and weakness was to the point of being unable to drive myself to the doctor. I am resting pushing fluids and I’m sitting on the couch until monday. I have had typical pneumonia and I rank this much more serious.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I fought pneumonia last August into July. This year (September) I am battling it again. Like the first time, I went to the doctor and told him I was in the beginning stages of it. Again, I was/am not being treated for it yet.. This time however, I found an older bottle of antibiotics and began the neutralizer. I went to the ER and they told me it was a upper respiratory virus. I thought I had strep throat and two ear infections. The doctor said it wasn’t strep and the ear infections were not ear infections but my sinuses causing the ear irritations. He offered no antibiotics. I understand that a virus can’t be treated with antibiotics but I knew it was going to lead to pneumonia, I already was having symptoms. He blew me off and sent me home. I wasn’t home about 6 hours before the “lung” pains started in along with the sweats. I have slept for days, usually since I do not EVER get fevers that the sweats were the only signs I get. I wish the doctors would listen. We know our bodies better then they do. Especially if a patient has had it before. I am diabetic so I usually catch everything. I have boosted my immune system by eating two oranges a day and taking B vitamins. Hopefully I can take care of it this time myself. I was out of work a month last time. I have no insurance so getting sick hurts in more way than one. Anyway, thanks for listening and good luck to you everyone. I also use colloidal silver with my neutralizer treatments just make sure its true silver and not silver proteins. Please forgive any typos, there is a “box” in the view field of my post. Good luck and I hope everyone feels better soon.

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