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Leah McCabe

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About Author — Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog.

How Long Does Walking Pneumonia Last?

Walking pneumonia is a mild kind of pneumonia that resembles the common cold in many ways. It is often caused by viruses and sometimes bacteria. People with bacterial infections tend to be sicker than those with viral pneumonia, and as a result will take a longer time to recover.

Walking pneumonia is typically only visible two to three weeks after a person becomes infected. Generally, walking pneumonia will get better within a week or so after medication or treatment however,  a productive cough may linger for more time as the body clears excess mucus produced to fight off the infection.

Who is at Risk?

People with respiratory conditions like COPD, seniors over 65 years of age and kids under two years of age will take a much longer time to recover than other people. Also, those with low immunity and those taking any immunosuppressant drugs will take a much longer time to recover. The cough especially will persist for more time, and this can be a bit annoying. But in most cases, the condition will go away by itself and will not require serious care like hospitalization.

Walking Pneumonia Symptoms

A person with walking pneumonia will experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever (sometimes with chills)
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Wheezing
  • Having difficulty breathing
  • Exhaustion
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration

When pneumonia is caused by bacteria, it lasts longer and the infected person is likely to suffer from fever and breathing difficulties until treatment is given. But in the case of a viral infection, the infection comes on gradually and is less severe.


Diagnosis and Treatment

A healthcare provider can identify whether you have pneumonia or a common cold through a chest X-ray. Depending on the results, the physician may even order a blood or mucus sample to determine whether it is a bacterial or a viral infection. If you are diagnosed with a bacterial infection, antibiotics are the best treatment. But in the case of viral pneumonia, especially when it is not so severe, simple home remedies like light food and rest should be enough.

Hospitalization is not required unless the infected person falls in any of the risky groups mentioned above, and that’s because walking pneumonia is a light condition by itself. If your walking pneumonia gets worse, you may need to be hospitalized and monitored to ensure your condition does not become life threatening.

How PlushCare Works

When you book and appointment with a PlushCare doctor, you’ll start with a video chat in which you’ll explain your symptoms. The doctor will ask a few questions about your current health, background and other pertinent information. You can also ask the doctor any questions you may have such as how long this condition will last, any specific diet conditions and any other questions you may have.

In some cases, the doctor will refer you to have a chest X-ray and sometimes, even a blood sample depending on how severe your condition is. These results can be sent electronically to the doctor and then he or she will prescribe appropriate antibiotics or other treatment.

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