The term "walking pneumonia" or "atypical pneumonia" is used in cases where there are symptoms of pneumonia which are not severe enough to require bed rest or hospitalization. The symptoms can be so mild that treatment or diagnosis is not sought. It is caused by bacteria such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae Legionella pneumophila and Chlamydophila pneumoniae. If the signs or symptoms appear, it is important to take precautions to not infect others. Also, in some cases, it can progress to a more serious illness.
Sore Throat and Fever
Walking pneumonia is most common in the spring and late fall, and the symptoms are often the same as a cold, states the New York Department of Health. This includes a sore throat, cough, fever, headaches and fatigue. It tends to occur more often in children and young adults. These symptoms can appear weeks after exposure and usually do not require treatment. However, antibiotics may be prescribed if needed.
According to the State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services, symptoms from this condition can last for days, weeks or months, and in some cases, an infection of the middle ear develops. Inner ear infections can cause pain, trouble sleeping, difficulty hearing and leaking fluid from the ear. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states that it is important to treat any ear infection because in severe cases, the infection can spread to other areas of the body, including the brain.
Chills and Muscle Aches
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that other symptoms that can occur with atypical pneumonia are chills, confusion, gastrointestinal problems, loss of appetite, muscle aches and skin rashes. Individuals with weakened immune systems, children and the elderly are at higher risk of developing more serious symptoms. In some cases, walking pneumonia can lead to bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses and can cause difficulty breathing. A chest X-ray is the only way to tell if the symptoms are due to pneumonia.