Pneumonia is a serious condition caused due to infection. It results in inflaming the air sacs of a person's lungs either with some fluid or pus. This deposition of fluid in the air sacs leads to coughing, heavy breathing, fever, phlegm, chills and pus. This disease can range from being really mild to becoming a life threatening condition. It usually tends to affect the lower respiratory tract which is involved in gaseous exchange. On the other hand walking pneumonia is a type of pneumonia in which the patient is usually unaware about the degree of seriousness of his/her illness and is able to walk normally without experiencing any respiratory discomfort. Let us take a step ahead and learn more about these conditions along with some of their common symptoms and differences between the two from Dr. Rishabh Kohli, General Physician, Wellness Healthcare.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia can simply be understood as a lung condition where the infection affects the lower part of the respiratory tract that is involved in the process of gaseous exchange. This condition involves the accumulation of pus or fluid in the air sacs of either one or both the lungs. Pneumonia is a condition that leads to various respiratory issues and results in cough, fever, chills, phlegm, breathing difficulty or pus. This condition of pneumonia can range from being really mild to becoming a life threatening situation within no time.
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Pneumonia can be caused due to various factors such as bacteria, fungi or some kind of virus. Where anyone can get affected due to this chronic condition, it is the young children and old agen people who suffer the ill effects of this condition the most. It can lead to various health complications and can also weaken a person’s immune system.
The treatment for pneumonia depends upon the etiology. In case of bacterial empirical antibiotic medicines such as cephalosporins or fluoroquinolones are given to a patient in the hospital setting.
Symptoms of Pneumonia
Getting to know about the symptoms of a condition is really important. Observing the symptoms and acknowledging them can help you to detect the condition at an early stage so that a timely treatment can be provided and one can be saved from the further complications of the disease. Here are some of the common symptoms of pneumonia hat one can look out for-
- Chest pain while breathing
- Cough that produces phlegm
- Short of breath
- Changes in a person’s mental awareness.
What is Walking Pneumonia?
Walking pneumonia is a type of pneumonia in which a person is unaware about his/her condition. This is an informal term used to describe a pneumonia condition which is mild and does not require hospitalization. Due to the low severity of this condition people might experience a slight cold or need to rest and take a break from work. This type of pneumonia is usually caused due to a bacterium type known as mycoplasma pneumoniae that produces milder symptoms than other forms of pneumonia. This condition is most commonly observed in children and adults who are below the age of 40 years. It is a contagious condition that tends to spread through actions like coughing and sneezing.
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This term can be recently observed in the case of covid-19 pneumonia where the patient is comfortable in walking around but the results to his tests such as the CT scan and oxygen saturation indicate a severe infection.
Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia
Where walking pneumonia is a mild condition, it does not affect a person severely but due to being contagious it can cause several problems. It is important to look out for the symptoms of walking pneumonia so that one can prevent the spread of infection amongst their loved ones. Here are some of the symptoms of walking pneumonia-
- Chest pain while taking deep breaths
- Sore throat
- Mild flu like symptoms
- Cough that might come in violent spasm.
While talking about the prevention tips that one must take to protect themselves and their loved one from pneumonia, Dr. Kohli suggests that - the precautions for any form of pneumonia is really simple, one needs to wear a mask, wash their hands frequently and take special care while visiting a patient. One must seek medical advice at an initial stage to avoid any further complications.”
Difference between Pneumonia and Walking Pneumonia
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By now we have learnt all about the condition of pneumonia and walking pneumonia along with their symptoms and prevention tips. Let us take a close look at the points of difference between these two conditions.
- Where pneumonia is a condition in which a person’s lower respiratory tract gets affected due to the accumulation of fluid and puss making it difficult for him to breath, in case of walking pneumonia the symptoms are so mild that a person might not even feel any kind of discomfort in breathing.
- Pneumonia is a severe condition that usually affects young children and old age people whereas walking pneumonia is more prevalent in young adults under the age of 40 years.
- Walking pneumonia comes in with mild flu like symptoms whereas in case of pneumonia a person might experience chest pain and breathing difficulty
(With inputs from Dr. Rishabh Kohli, General Physician, Wellness Healthcare)