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Symptoms of Pneumonia Including those for Walking Pneumonia

The symptoms of pneumonia can vary depending on the age of the patient or the cause behind their lung infection.

Symptoms of Pneumonia According to Age Group

Pneumonia symptoms according to age group can be classified into three main categories, which are general symptoms for healthy adults, and the more severe and sometimes uncommon symptoms for the elderly or those over sixty-five and the extremely young or those under five years of age.

General Symptoms / Healthy Adults

High fever with chills and other usual symptoms for the common cold such as a runny nose, sneezing and headache

Coughing, can be with phlegm (also known as a productive cough) or without phlegm (also known as a non-productive cough or more commonly referred to as a dry cough)

Experiencing short and shallow breaths, even with day-to-day activities

Dull chest pains when taking breaths

A feeling tiredness and general feeling of being unwell usually accompanied by sore muscles

The skin can look “dusky” because the infection is preventing the lungs from effectively absorbing oxygen

Symptoms for the elderly

A slight fever usually ranging between 99 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit

Sharp chest pains and upper abdominal pain

Feeling confused or having a hard time thinking clearly

Short and fast breaths that exceed 20 breaths per minute

Changes in long-term or chronic coughs and the color of the phlegm associated with it

Symptoms of Pneumonia

Symptoms for the children under 5 years of age

In children, the symptoms are similar to the general symptoms for healthy adults such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, and discoloration of the skin. Children can also experience stomach pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, and be irritable and restless.

Symptoms of Pneumonia According to the Cause of the Infection

Pneumonia can be caused by fungi, parasites, viruses and, most commonly, bacteria. For each different cause, different symptoms can also be observed that help doctors determine how to treat the infection; but, to make the discussion simpler, we can group the symptoms according to cause into pneumonia caused by bacteria and pneumonia caused by fungi, parasites and/or viruses, which we can simply call non-bacterial causes of pneumonia.

Symptoms of pneumonia caused by bacteria

Patients who suffer from pneumonia due to bacterial infection of the lungs experience the following:

Productive cough or coughing that produces yellow, green or rust-colored phlegm.
High fever
Chattering of teeth or shaking
Short and shallow breaths accompanied by chest pains
A faster heart rate

Symptoms of pneumonia caused by non-bacterial sources

The symptoms of non-bacterial pneumonia are frequently milder and slower to develop making it harder to detect because the patients don’t feel sick at all. The symptoms are:

Dry cough also known as a non-productive cough
A slight fever
Shortness of breath

In children the symptoms also include:

Having no energy to do anything
Having no appetite

In the elderly the symptoms also include:

Feeling confused
Not being able to think clearly

It is important to go to your doctor if you suspect that you or anyone you know is suffering from pneumonia, because the infection can become serious enough to be life threatening if left unattended.

It is also important to seek professional medical care because pneumonia symptoms are very similar to other lung infections, which may need different medicine or treatment programs.

What is a “walking pneumonia”?

When I first heard about the term walking pneumonia, the first thing that came to my mind was an image of dusky-skinned, violently ill, and highly contagious people walking down abandoned city streets chasing down healthy people to spread the disease – kind of like the walking dead, but without the flesh eating.

But, as it turns out, walking pneumonia is actually at the opposite end of the spectrum of the disease, because it is the mildest form of pneumonia, so mild that sometimes people don’t even know and feel that they are already sick!

So what is it? How do you get it?

Walking pneumonia is a bacterial infection of the lungs that affect about two million American every year, most of which are kids aged five to sixteen. You get sick from the bacteria known as Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It can spread through the sneezing or coughing of a sick person on a healthy person.

It is the mildest form of pneumonia and requires no hospitalization or bed rest, hence the term walking pneumonia.

What are the symptoms of walking pneumonia?

The symptoms of walking pneumonia develop very gradually. It takes about a week to 3 weeks for the symptoms of walking pneumonia to show. It begins with symptoms similar to that of a common colds, but as time passes, the infection will still show the following symptoms:

A cold that does not get better
Dry cough also known as a non-productive cough
Runny nose
Headaches, sudden chills, high fever
The patient can also experience throat rashes and sore throat
Always feeling tired, sore and weak
Pain in the abdomen
Fast and shallow breaths
The patient can also develop anemia, skin rashes or an ear infection

The symptoms of walking pneumonia become particularly visible when the infection has already spreads down into the lungs, which is why going to the doctor to get yourself checked is extremely important if you suspect that you have this infection. Any infection, if left untreated, can become very dangerous.

Symptoms of walking pneumonia can affect you at any time of the year, but they are usually more common during the end of the summer season and throughout fall.

How can the doctor be sure it’s walking pneumonia and how can it be treated?

When you go to the doctor, aside from asking you what you are feeling, he can also ask you if you work, live with or pass through crowded areas where there was also a sick person, because this is usually how people get walking pneumonia.

The doctor can also order some tests to find out if what you have is really walking pneumonia, such as a blood test to specifically identify the Mycoplasma or a chest x-ray. Treatment is actually very simple.

After the doctor has confirmed through tests that what you have is really walking pneumonia, he will usually just give you antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria. For particularly mild cases where the patient doesn’t even feel that he is sick, the infection usually goes away on its own.

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