Weekend house call: Walking Pneumonia


>>WITH ALL OF THESE RUNNY NOSES IN THE CITY I HAVE BEEN HEARING PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT SOMEBODY IN THEIR FAMILY HAVING WALKING PNEUMONIA. IT MAKES GRIN A BIT BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE WALKING TO HAVE IT. WALKING PNEUMONIA IS SO NAMED BECAUSE, UNLIKE MORE SEVERE FORMS OF PNEUMONIA, IT DOESN’T KNOCK YOU OFF YOUR FEET AND MAKE YOU EXTREMELY SICK. ALSO KNOWN AS ATYPICAL PNEUMONIA, WALKING PNEUMONIA IS USUALLY CAUSED BY ONE OF THREE TYPES OF BACTERIA-MYCOPLASMA, CHLAMYDIA PNEUMONIAE, OR LEGIONELLA. MYCOPLASMA PNEUMONIAE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR 15 TO 50 PERCENT OF ALL PNEUMONIA CASES IN ADULTS. CHLAMYDIA PNEUMONIAE IS THE CAUSE OF 5 TO 15 PERCENT OF ALL PNEUMONIA CASES. IT’S RELATED TO THE BACTERIA THAT CAUSES CHLAMYDIA, BUT THE TWO DISEASES ARE NOT SIMILAR. MYCOPLASMA AND CHLAMYDIA PNEUMONIAS TRIGGER SIMILAR SYMPTOMS, INCLUDING CHILLS, COUGH, FEVER AND SHORTNESS OF BREATH. OTHER SYMPTOMS ARE CHEST PAIN, HEADACHE, LOSS OF APPETITE, LOW ENERGY, FATIGUE, MUSCLE ACHES, AND SWEATING. LESS COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MYCOPLASMA PNEUMONIA INCLUDE EAR PAIN, EYE PAIN AND RASH. PNEUMONIA CAUSED BY LEGIONELLA ALSO KNOWN AS LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE– IS MOST COMMON IN MIDDLE-AGED AND ELDERLY PEOPLE, SMOKERS, AND THOSE WITH CHRONIC ILLNESSES SUCH AS HEART DISEASE AND COPD OR WEAKENED IMMUNE SYSTEMS. THE FIRST RECOGNIZED CASES OF LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE OCCURRED IN 1976 IN PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA AMONG ATTENDEES OF A LEGIONNAIRES’ CONVENTION HELD AT THE BELLEVUE-STRATFORD HOTE OF THE 2000 LEGIONNAIRES WHO ATTENDED THE CONVENTION, 221 BECAME ILL AND 34 OF THOSE DIED SO WALKING PNEUMONIA CAN BE SERIOUS. LEGIONELLA THRIVES IN CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS IN OFFICE BUILDINGS, HOTELS, AND HOSPITALS. COOLING TOWERS USED IN INDUSTRIAL COOLING SYSTEMS AS WELL AS EVAPORATIVE COOLERS, NEBULIZERS, HUMIDIFIERS, WHIRLPOOL SPAS, HOT WATER SYSTEMS, SHOWERS, WINDSHIELD WASHERS, FOUNTAINS, ROOM-AIR HUMIDIFIERS, ICE MAKING MACHINES, AND MISTING SYSTEMS TYPICALLY FOUND IN GROCERY STORE PRODUCE SECTIONS ARE ALSO VECTORS .PEOPLE WITH LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE MAY ALSO EXPERIENCE DIARRHEA AND A COUGH THAT PRODUCES BLOODY MUCUS. THESE SYMPTOMS MAY WORSEN IN THE FIRST 4-6 DAYS AND THEN IMPROVE OVER THE NEXT 4-5 DAYS. ON RARE OCCASIONS LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE CAN CAUSE KIDNEY DAMAGE AND DIABETES. IF YOUR WALKING PNEUMONIA TREATMENT INVOLVES A COURSE OF ANTIBIOTICS, MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE TO FINISH YOUR ENTIRE PRESCRIPTION EVEN IF YOU’RE FEELING BETTER-OTHERWISE, YOUR SYMPTOMS MAY RETURN EVEN STRONGER. WHETHER YOU FEEL LIKE IT OR NOT, DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS AND GET REST. REMEMBER, ALTHOUGH WALKING PNEUMONIA IS MILDER THAN OTHER FORMS OF THE INFECTION IF YOU DON’T TREAT IT YOU WON’T BE WALKING FOR LONG. IM MEDICAL EDITOR DR COREY HEBERT WITH YOUR WEEKEND HOUSECALL.

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