There is really no such thing as pneumonia that has no symptoms. Although there are different types of pneumonia with different root causes, they all cause symptoms. However, it is possible to have a very mild form of pneumonia in which the symptoms may be mistaken for those of the flu or a bad cold. This type of pneumonia is so mild that it often goes untreated, and the infected person may never even know they've had pneumonia.
Typical Pneumonia Symptoms
Pneumonia is not one specific disease, but rather a condition that can be caused by a number of factors. Pneumonia can be caused by a virus, a bacterial infection or a foreign object in the lungs. No matter what the cause, pneumonia produces a common set of symptoms. These include coughing up phlegm, chest pain, fever, intense chills and shortness of breath. Most cases of pneumonia are debilitating and require hospitalization.
There is, however, a type of pneumonia whose symptoms are so mild that they may be mistaken for something else. This is called walking pneumonia. Walking pneumonia gets its name from the fact that sufferers are able to walk around and go about their daily business, whereas typical pneumonia makes its victims very weak and sick. Walking pneumonia is generally caused by a bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumonia. People who have this infection often do not realize that they even have pneumonia, chalking their symptoms up to a bad cold. The body can often fight off the bacteria on its own, without the need for treatment.
Symptoms of Walking Pneumonia
The symptoms of walking pneumonia are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, but they are far less intense. They usually include a cough, sore throat, fever, chills, headache and mild chest pain. Sometimes, symptoms may also include earache, swollen glands in the neck and a rash. Unlike in other pneumonias, these symptoms are not debilitating.
Walking pneumonia often doesn't require medical treatment. In fact, it often doesn't even occur to many people with walking pneumonia to seek treatment, since they believe they simply have a cold or the flu. Even though walking pneumonia is usually mild enough to allow infected people to do their daily routines as usual, bed rest is often a great help in speeding the recovery process. If the symptoms persist more than a few days or get worse, antibiotics are probably necessary. Tetracycline, erythromycin and clarithromycin are the most common antibiotics used to treat walking pneumonia.
Walking pneumonia is generally not a cause for great concern. However, like any infection, it does have the potential to get out of control. In rare cases, walking pneumonia may worsen and cause a severe case of pneumonia. If you have the symptoms of walking pneumonia and they last for more than four or five days, it is a good idea to see a doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics.