Walking Pneumonia: Care Instructions

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

Adult respiratory system, including the trachea, bronchus, bronchioles, and lungs.

Walking pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by the mycoplasma bacteria. This form of pneumonia is usually mild and feels like a chest cold, but it can get worse. The symptoms of cough, headache, and a low fever start slowly. The infection is usually so mild that you may walk around with it without knowing that you have it. Most people don't get sick enough to be in the hospital.

Walking pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics.

Your cough may last for 2 to 3 weeks after the infection has been treated. You may have some wheezing too. These symptoms will go away over time.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Take your antibiotics as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Take care of your cough so you can rest. A cough that brings up mucus from your lungs is common with pneumonia. It is one way your body gets rid of the infection. But if coughing keeps you from resting or causes severe fatigue and chest-wall pain, talk to your doctor. He or she may suggest that you take a medicine to reduce the cough.
  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around you.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have severe trouble breathing.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You cough up dark brown or bloody mucus (sputum).
  • You have new or worse trouble breathing.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have a new or higher fever.
  • Your cough or wheezing has not gone away after 2 to 4 weeks.
  • You are not getting better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter V660 in the search box to learn more about "Walking Pneumonia: Care Instructions".