Walking pneumonia vs regular pneumonia

I've had a cough and a fever for a week and went to see my doctor. She did a chest x-ray and told me I have walking pneumonia. What's the difference between walking pneumonia and regular pneumonia? Is it contagious?

Pneumonia (or pneumonitis) is just an infection in the tissue of the lung, just like bronchitis is an infection in the bronchial tubes, and pharyngitis is an infection in the pharynx, or throat. Walking pneumonia just means that you're not sick enough to need to stay in bed.

Viruses or a bacteria most often cause pneumonia. All are more or less contagious. However, just because somebody you know or work with has pneumonia doesn't mean you need to see a doctor. If you do get symptoms, by all means seek care. Since some kinds tend to spread in workplaces, it'd be appropriate for you to tell your health care provider at that time if you think you've been exposed.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a kind of pneumonia caused by a particular organism. It's pretty contagious, and if you've had close contact with a person with active TB, you should be checked. This is usually done with a skin test. If your skin test "converts" from negative to positive, your doctor should talk to you about whether it's appropriate for you to be treated with prophylactic antibiotics against TB.

By Dr. Flash Gordon

Note: To print this document, click on this frame, then choose File --> Print Frame or Print.

Got a question? Ask a doctor at WebMD.

Copyright ©1999 Direct Medical Knowledge, Inc.

WebMD terms and conditions.