An older adult should be seen by a doctor if a care-giver suspects walking pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is most common in people over 40 and may be easily treated with antibiotics, states WebMD.
Walking pneumonia is the least dangerous form of pneumonia and does not usually require hospitalization. This mild pneumonia is a lung infection usually caused by the bacteria mycoplasma pneumoniae, according to WebMD. People with this infection typically feel well enough to be following their normal routines. Walking pneumonia is contagious and spreads slowly. The contagious period is likely around 10 days, states WebMD, but may still be contracted for a much longer time.
In infected individuals, symptoms appear 2 to 3 weeks later and come on gradually. Symptoms are mild and mimic those of the common cold. People with walking pneumonia also experience an unproductive cough, mild fever and chills, sore throat, headache, tiredness and lingering weakness. Most people do not see a doctor until symptoms persist. Occasionally, an ear infection, skin rash or anemia accompanies walking pneumonia. An older adult with these symptom should be seen by a doctor. The best way to diagnose any type of pneumonia is with the use of a stethoscope or x-ray, states WebMD.