Pneumonia and walking pneumonia can both be very scary experiences. However, most people don’t really know the difference when it comes down to pneumonia versus walking pneumonia. This week, we are exploring the two conditions. Read on to learn the difference between these two medical conditions that are more alike than many people think.

The Short Answer

When it comes down to it, there is a simple question for the pneumonia versus walking pneumonia question. Walking pneumonia is a more mild case of the illness. In fact, “walking” isn’t even a medical term. The medical term for the condition is atypical pneumonia.

Symptoms Of Walking Pneumonia

  • A fever under 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • A sore throat
  • An unproductive cough that lasts longer than a week
  • Difficulty breathing accompanied by chest pains
  • Headaches that come and go
  • Chills
  • No interest in food

Symptoms Of Pneumonia

  • A fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit that usually maxes out at 105 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Sore throat
  • A productive cough that results in mucus
  • Shortness of breath accompanied by intense chest pains even from shallow breathing
  • Headaches that turn into migraines
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite

The Comparison 

As you can tell, the symptoms are not all that different. Essentially, walking pneumonia puts someone out of commission for a few days to a week. On the other hand, pneumonia puts people on bed rest for a few weeks. That’s a pretty big difference.

The Causes

This comparison begs the question “why is there such a big difference between the two conditions?” The answer, as it turns out, boils down to what causes the condition.

Walking pneumonia is typically caused by bacteria. There are three common types of bacteria the cause the illness. Other than that, it is unusual to see walking pneumonia pop up.

On the other hand, the illness can be caused by a virus, a bacteria (like the walking version), or even fungi. Primarily, pneumonia is viral. In fact, about 50% of all people with pneumonia have a viral version of it. The fungal based pneumonia often comes from when people inhale soil. Soil that has bird droppings in it is a particularly common cause of fungal pneumonia.

Who Is At Risk?

As with many illnesses, there are certain groups that are more at risk for pneumonia than others.

First and foremost, age plays a factor. Children under two years of age and older adults above 60 five years of age are both at increased risk. Additionally, those people are in high risk environments. Spaces with dense populations that live and work together or at a high risk for spreading pneumonia. most common of these are nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and dorms.

Additionally, people with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, are hit hard by pneumonia. If the respiratory condition is severe enough, pneumonia can put an individual on bed rest for months.