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What is Walking Pneumonia?

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Pneumonia is an inflammation of one or both of the lung’s air sacs. The sacs can become filled with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breath and producing a phlegmy cough. This condition is typically a complication of a respiratory infection, though it can be caused by a variety of germs, including bacteria, viruses, mycoplasmas, fungi, and some chemicals. Pneumonia can be accompanied by a high fever with shaking chills. These infections, if not successfully treated, can lead to serious complications such as septic shock, lung abscesses, pleural effusions, and renal or respiratory failure.

What Walking Pneumonia Feels Like

Walking pneumonia is thought of as a mild case of the infection. Physicians refer to this condition as atypicalpneumonia. You might feel as though you just have a simple case of the common cold with walking pneumonia and not realize you are afflicted with something a bit more serious. You may continue to walk around, go to work or school, and perform routine tasks rather than rest to recover or see your doctor for a checkup.

Symptoms of Mild or Walking Pneumonia

So how do you know if what you have is just a bad cold, the flu, or a type of pneumonia? Of course, your Johns Creek physician should examine you and make that determination, but for your own information, some of the symptoms of this respiratory disease include:

  • Chest pain upon taking deep breaths
  • Violent, spasms of coughing, shortness of breath
  • Fever, chills
  • Sore throat
  • Headache, muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of weakness, even when other symptoms have subsided

These symptoms can mimic a cold, often causing patients to resist going to their North Atlanta area doctor because the indications are mild and come on gradually, unlike other forms of pneumonia. More serious types of pneumonia generally cause very high fevers and worsening symptoms over a course of 12 to 36 hours.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you have some of the above symptoms, It’s important that you visit your family medicine specialist for an examination. In addition to a physical exam, listening to your symptoms and asking you questions about your home or work environment, your physician may also request that you get a chest X-ray to look at your lungs and possibly a blood test to test for a mycoplasma infection.

If you are diagnosed with walking pneumonia, your physician may start you on oral antibiotics so you can begin to feel better within a few days. Depending upon your age and general physical condition, it can take from 2 to 8 weeks to feel completely back to normal and energetic after enduring a bout of walking pneumonia.

Stay Healthy

Preventive medicine and getting regular physicals from your Johns Creek family-focused medical practice will help you avoid outbreaks of serious respiratory infections and chronic disease through primary care strategies.

The team at Johns Creek Family Medicine serves patients in South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties plus the surrounding North Atlanta area. Dr. Zack Charkawi is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He treats his patients with dignity and respect, always willing to listen to your concerns and needs with attention and empathy.

This article does not take the place of professional medical advice. If you are concerned about your health or have any questions about walking pneumonia, please contact the staff at Johns Creek Family Medicine to schedule an appointment.

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