Walking pneumonia is an informal term for a mild form of pneumonia.
It’s most common in school-aged children and young adults, though people of all ages are at risk.
“Walking pneumonia is caused by a type of bacteria we classify as an atypical type of bacteria,” says Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist. “Most commonly, that bacteria is called Mycoplasma pneumoniae.”
“Symptoms of walking pneumonia are similar to symptoms of pneumonia, but generally are on the milder side,” says Dr. Rajapakse. “A child or a person with this infection can experience a cough, fever, runny nose, some difficulty with breathing, occasionally chest pain or some shortness of breath, as well.”
Even though walking pneumonia is caused by bacteria, most people will completely recover without antibiotics.
If the symptoms are severe or you have other medical conditions such as asthma or a weakened immune system your health care provider may prescribe an antibiotic to help clear the infection.