A diagnosis of walking pneumonia involves detecting bacteria by carrying out tests like chest X-ray to examine the presence of sputum and blood test that detects the bacteria by Mycoplasma complement fixations and cold agglutinins.
When the physicians diagnose patients with walking pneumonia, they refer to an infection that is caused by an organism called Mycoplasma pneumoniae. These bacteria are the smallest self-replicating biologic systems known. Mycoplasmas cause respiratory infections in older children and young adults and usually infect the age group between 5 and 15, accounting for 70% of pneumonias in children between 9 to 15 years of age.
The doctor will want to know about your symptoms and get to know your medical history and perform physical examination. Diagnosis of pneumonia is done based on symptoms and physical examination. In addition, to these tests, the physician may also make you undergo the tests mentioned below to confirm his diagnosis.
- Chest x-ray
- Blood tests
- CT scan a type of x-ray that uses a computer to generate images of the inside of the chest
- Sputum culture testing mucus expelled from the lungs by coughing
- Arterial blood gas a test that measures oxygen, acid and carbon dioxide in the blood
- Bronchoscopy direct examination of airways/air passages
- Pulse oximetry a test that measures the level of oxygen in the blood
Erythromycin is the antibiotic most often used. Other antibiotics that can also be used include Doxycycline, Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, or Ciprofloxacin.
- Antibiotics - Antibiotics are used to fight bacterial infection. Though bacteria primarily cause pneumonia, viruses are sometimes responsible for causing pneumonia in a person. In such cases, antibiotics will not help in treating the disease. The best person to determine whether the pneumonia is bacterial or viral is your doctor.
The most preferred antibiotic is Erythromycin. The other antibiotics that are also used in the treatment of walking pneumonia are Doxycycline, Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, or Ciprofloxacin.
- Chest pounding (percussion) therapy - This therapy is very important in treating pneumonia. If your child is suffering from pneumonia, this is what you need to do.
- Take your child to the bathroom with hot shower, 4-6 times in a day
- Cup your hands and firmly clap on the child chest, concentrating on the area where the pneumonia is.
- Start pounding rapidly for one minute. Rest for a minute and continue again on and off for ten minutes.
This pounding process will loosen the mucus and the pus pockets that will instigate your child to cough. If he does not cough, encourage coughing to loosen and expel the mucus out.
- Cough medicine Suppressing cough during the day is not recommended. Make sure that your child coughs it up. An expectorant can be used during the day, in consultation with your doctor, to loosen the mucus that is stuck in the chest. However, if your child is suffering from severe bouts of cough, give him a combination of expectorant and a cough suppressant. If the cough is tolerable, don't use a suppressant.
The elderly people with medical conditions and people who have difficulty in breathing are usually treated for pneumonia in hospitals. The most common treatment is antibiotics, usually administered intravenously, oxygen therapy, and intravenous fluids. If the condition of the patient is not critical, they can be treated at home with oral antibiotics. The type of antibiotic your doctor prescribes depends upon the type of pneumonia you have.
Complete bed rest and plenty of fluids are recommended for all pneumonia patients. Drinking warm fluids will enable thin secretions in the lungs so that it is easier to cough them up. Use of humidifier will keep the air you breathe moist. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve the fever and pain associated with pneumonia.
Never give aspirin to a child. It can cause a serious condition called Reyes syndrome. Most people recover completely from pneumonia, however, some people with underlying medical problem, very young or very old, are more likely to develop complications despite the treatment.