Walking Pneumonia Versus Regular PneumoniaWalking pneumonia is simply a milder case of pneumonia. In this case, a person does not appear as sick as someone with regular pneumonia -- they are still able to "walk around." They may feel sick; however, their symptoms are not as severe.
Walking pneumonia can be caused by a number of different types of bacteria and viruses. The most common type is caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae (see Mycoplasma Pneumonia).
Walking pneumonia is common, accounting for about 20 percent of pneumonia cases in middle and high school students and up to 50 percent of cases in college students and military recruits.
How Contagious Is Pneumonia?The germs that cause pneumonia are contagious. When spread, they typically cause upper respiratory symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, or sore throat.
The germs that cause pneumonia are usually found in the mouth and nose of the infected person. They can be spread easily to another person either through the air or by touching a contaminated surface. Most often, they enter the person's body through the mouth, nose, or eyes.
(Click Is Pneumonia Contagious? to learn why some people get this illness and others do not.)
Pneumonia and Its SymptomsCommon symptoms of this condition can vary from mild to severe. They include:
- A cough that produces green or yellow phlegm
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain when breathing or coughing
- A rapid heart rate and breathing rate
- Fever (temperature greater than 100.5ºF or 38ºC)
Symptoms may also include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
(Click Pneumonia Symptoms and Signs to learn about other signs, including how symptoms can be different between older people and infants. See Pneumonia Symptoms in Children for information specifically about this age group.)