Walking Pneumonia in Children


Walking pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by mycoplasma, a microscopic organism. It is the leading cause of pneumonia among school-age children. Because the infection has mild to moderate symptoms, children are normally ambulatory during the illness.


Symptoms of walking pneumonia in children are usually mild to moderate and include fever, lethargy, headache, chills, cough and sore throat. Most symptoms are mild enough that children may not even realize they have the illness.


Treatment is recommended if the child does not show marked improvement after three weeks. Antibiotics are used to combat the infection. If the symptoms are severe, the child may be hospitalized and given antibiotics through an IV drip.


A full recovery is expected in four to six weeks for a child who has received antibiotic treatment. The mycoplasma organism will be killed and the infection over in one to two weeks, though the cough may persist for several more weeks.

Supportive Care

If your child has contracted walking pneumonia, run a humidifier in her room, have her drink plenty of fluids and treat a fever with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.


Prevention is the key to combating walking pneumonia in children. Teach your child proper hand-washing techniques and make sure he is up to date on all of his vaccines and gets a flu shot every year.

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