Common Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia

May 7th 2016

While walking pneumonia is not usually as severe as other types of pneumonia, certain infections can lead to serious complications if left untreated, or if sufferers don't allow themselves enough time to rest and recover. Regardless of severity, seeking medical attention as soon as possible following the onset of symptoms can help to ensure a proper diagnosis and prompt treatment.

Fever and Chills

Similar to other forms of pneumonia, individuals with walking pneumonia may develop a fever and experience chills throughout the body. Fevers that accompany Mycoplasma and Chlamydophila pneumoniae infections are typically low-grade in nature. However, individuals with Legionella pneumophila infections may develop high fevers.

Dry Cough

A dry cough is another common symptom of walking pneumonia that can range from mild to severe spasms. Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections often cause a cough that worsens at night, while Chlamydophila pneumoniae infections cause persistent dry cough symptoms. Coughs associated with Legionella infections may produce blood-tinged mucus.

Exhaustion and Weakness

Similar to the flu, walking pneumonia may also cause extreme fatigue, accompanied by body weakness. In certain cases, sufferers may experience symptoms of body weakness even after other symptoms of walking pneumonia have disappeared.

Chest Pain and Muscle Aches

Chest pain is commonly associated with all types of pneumonia. The pain tends to worsen upon breathing deeply or coughing and may be accompanied by shortness of breath. The infection may also cause tender, aching muscles and stiffened joints.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

While gastrointestinal symptoms are not as common as fever, chills and coughing, up to 40 percent of individuals infected with Legionella pneumophila bacteria experience episodes of diarrhea. Nausea, stomach pains and vomiting may also occur.

Treatment For Walking Pneumonia

Treatments for walking pneumonia include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, antibiotic medications and oxygen therapy. Doctors typically prescribe antibiotics for at least two weeks. In severe cases, individuals may be required to stay in the hospital in order to receive intravenous antibiotics.

When recovering at home, it is important for sufferers to increase fluid intake, as this can help to loosen congestion and make it easier to breathe. It is also important to rest as much as possible to allow the body to recover. Sufferers should avoid over-the-counter cough remedies unless instructed by a physician, as the medications can suppress coughing and cause sputum to remain in the lungs.


Walking pneumonia, also referred to as atypical pneumonia, is a mild form of the condition that is typically caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila or Chlamydophila pneumoniae bacteria. While walking pneumonia is not as serious as other forms of pneumonia, complications such as lung damage and brain infections can arise if the patient does not seek treatment for the condition. Understanding the common signs of walking pneumonia can help sufferers recognize potential symptoms and take appropriate measures to ensure a successful recovery.

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