Walking Pneumonia: What Does It Mean?

What is walking pneumonia? How is it different from regular pneumonia?

Answer From Eric J. Olson, M.D.

Walking pneumonia is an informal term for pneumonia that isn’t severe enough to require bed rest or hospitalization. You may feel like you have a cold. The symptoms are generally so mild that you don’t feel you need to stay home from work or school, so you are out walking around.

Chances are you won’t see a doctor for your mild symptoms. If you do see a doctor, you may not seem sick enough to need a chest X-ray, which is the way to diagnose any kind of pneumonia.

Walking pneumonia is often caused by a type of bacterium that produces milder symptoms that come on more gradually than do those of other types of pneumonia. The illness often is brought home by young children who contract it at school. Family members of infected children typically begin having symptoms two or three weeks later. This kind of pneumonia can be treated with an antibiotic.

Updated: 2016-11-10

Publication Date: 2016-11-10

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