Overview on walking pneumonia

Fact Checked

Walking pneumonia is a bacterial infection affecting the upper and lower respiratory tract. Since the symptoms are not severe, it does not require bed rest or hospitalization. It strikingly resembles the common cold and most can continue with their daily lives.


It is important to note that it is considered atypical since the cells responsible for the infection are resistant to penicillin. Walking pneumonia can last for a week to a month.

What are the indications?

The indications of walking pneumonia are usually mild and appears like the common cold.

The indications of walking pneumonia are usually mild and appears like the common cold. The symptoms might be gradual initially and worsen over a month. The symptoms include the following:

  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Inflammation in the windpipe and its main branches

The indications that persist longer than a week might be an indication of walking pneumonia.

Risk factors

The following are the usual risk factors for developing walking pneumonia:

  • Over 65 years of age
  • Children 2 years or younger
  • Long-term use of immunosuppressant drugs
  • Impaired immunity
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Having respiratory ailments such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Prolonged use of inhaled corticosteroids


The condition is often managed at home. It is important to note that walking pneumonia is highly contagious during the 10-day period where the symptoms are severe.

Medical care

Antibiotics are given based on the type of bacterium responsible for walking pneumonia. An individual can recover from the condition over time. Antibiotics are only given for the bacterial cases. The course of treatment must be completed even if the individual already feels better.


In some cases, hospitalization is required for antibiotic therapy and support. There is a need to stay in a healthcare facility if the individual belongs to a high-risk group. While hospitalized, the individual will receive antibiotic therapy, intravenous fluids and respiratory therapy if there is difficulty breathing.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on walking pneumonia is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage respiratory ailments including this type of pneumonia, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.

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