ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is Walking Pneumonia Contagious?

Updated on October 16, 2013

Walking pneumonia is a non-medical term used to refer to a mild form of pneumonia. The sickness does not result in severe problems that require hospitalization or bed rest, or cause the patient to take leave of absence from school or work. Patients can be noticed walking around; therefore the name.

Pneumonia is a disease characterized by serious infection of the lungs by different pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc., or due to inhalation of harmful chemicals or even food. As opposed to this, walking pneumonia is caused due to infection by a bacteria-type organism called mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Symptoms of walking pneumonia

The symptoms of walking pneumonia typically make an appearance fifteen to 25 days after exposure to the mycoplasma. The signs then develop gradually over a period of two to four days.

A few of the commonly occurring symptoms of walking pneumonia are as follows:

  • Exhaustion

  • Sore throat

  • Chills, fever, and other mild flu-like symptoms

  • Headaches

  • Patients may experience violent bursts of coughing with very little or no expulsion of mucus

  • Prolonged weakness that tends to continue even after most symptoms fade away

  • On rare occasions, affected individuals may suffer from skin rashes, anemia, and/or ear infections

Is walking pneumonia contagious?

Walking pneumonia can occur across all age groups. However, the illness is usually observed in older children and adults aged below 40 years.

Walking pneumonia is a contagious condition. It can spread from an infected person to another after a healthy individual comes into contact with the infected throat and nose droplets released by the sick person during coughing or sneezing.The contagious nature of walking pneumonia is one of the main reasons for its prevalence in crowded areas like schools, prisons, or homeless shelters.

Different studies have indicated that walking pneumonia typically occurs after prolonged and close contact with an infected individual. Still, outbreaks of the illness happen every four to eight years. During such times, nearly half the reported cases of pneumonia are diagnosed as walking pneumonia.

Most instances of walking pneumonia are generally recorded in the late summer and fall months. It may however be noted that the illness can occur all through the year, without following any kind of pattern.
Also, despite being contagious, walking pneumonia has a tendency to spread slowly. In most cases, the period of contagion lasts for only 10 days or less.

Diagnosis of walking pneumonia

A lot of patients do not consult a doctor when they are sick. Thus, these instances of walking pneumonia are never recorded.

The doctor will peruse through the medical history of the patient during diagnosis. He/she will ask varied questions about the symptoms and the time they first appeared. Additional information, such as presence of any illnesses at home or work, may also be asked.

A physical examination may include checking the heartbeat via a stethoscope, breathing exercises, etc. If there is a current outbreak of walking pneumonia then the doctor may also ask for blood tests and an x-ray. The former will provide empirical data about the presence of pathogens, while the latter will reveal information about any lung damage.

Treatment of walking pneumonia

In most cases, minor infections are usually not treated as the symptoms fade away on their own. Patients may only need to sufficiently rest and drink lots of water and other fluids.

Distressing instances of walking pneumonia are treated with antibiotics. The symptoms will typically alleviate a few days after intake of medications.

The use of non-prescription cold and flu medicines may not result in full recovery from walking pneumonia. Hence, patients need to seek medical attention whenever they experience abnormal symptoms.

It may be noted that people who have previously suffered from walking pneumonia may develop partial and temporary immunity towards it. However, doctors do not know the exact duration of such immunity. Fortunately, when walking pneumonia recurs it generally tends to be milder than before.

Prevention of walking pneumonia

Walking pneumonia does not have a vaccine. Hence, complete prevention of the illness is not possible. People can however follow the below listed preventive and precautionary steps to avoid or decrease the risk to developing the infection:

  • Exercise regularly, consume balanced and healthy meals, and get adequate rest and sleep. This will help strengthen the immune system and the overall health, which in turn can efficiently fight off infections.

  • Wash the hands on a regular basis; if possible, with an antiseptic soap. Such practices will wash away 98 to 100 percent of the germs. You may also follow other normal guidelines of good personal hygiene.

  • Do not smoke/quit smoking. This is because smoking damages the lungs and increases the risk to pulmonary and other infections, including walking pneumonia.

  • Cover the mouth whenever you cough or sneeze. This will help prevent the spread of pathogens, if any, to others. Contact with infected droplets released into the air during sneezing or coughing is the most common way to contract walking pneumonia.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)