How to Treat Walking Pneumonia

Three Methods:Using Medical TreatmentDoing Home CareUsing Herbal Treatments and Supplements

Walking pneumonia, or atypical pneumonia, is a less severe case of pneumonia, a lung infection. It is most common in people younger than 40 years of age and is often preceded by headache and body aches. Respiratory pathogens that commonly cause walking pneumonia are bacteria (including Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, G. pneumoniae), a number of viruses, and fungi, as well as inhaled food or drink. Walking pneumonia is contagious and is spread through contact with droplets from the nose or throat of an infected person — it is commonly spread when a person with walking pneumonia sneezes or coughs. The onset of walking pneumonia is usually gradual, with nonproductive cough, mild fever, body aches and headaches. It is important to see your medical provider right away if you start having symptoms of walking pneumonia.

Method 1
Using Medical Treatment

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    Get a prescription for antibiotics. If you are diagnosed with walking pneumonia caused by bacteria, you will be prescribed an antibiotic.Your medical provider will choose an antibiotic based on your history and presentation. You may also have to do a sputum culture test to identify the type of bacteria present in your lungs for picking the right antibiotic. There are several antibiotics are usually prescribed for the treatment of walking pneumonia, including macrolide antibiotics, which are often prescribed for children and adults. Fluoroquinolones are often given to adults and are not recommended for young children. Tetracyclines can be prescribed for adults and older children.
    • Consult your medical provider for the best choice of antibiotic for you. Early treatment of your pneumonia with an antibiotic can prevent you from developing life-threatening complications.
    • Your doctor may suggest that you eat yogurt or take probiotic supplements to ensure you have enough healthy gut bacteria while taking the antibiotics.
    • Use a bronchodilator or inhaler. These are useful for those who experience difficulty breathing, a tight chest, or wheezing. These medications help to open up the alveoli of the lungs and facilitated oxygenation and riding off mucus containing bacteria.
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    Take over-the-counter medication to reduce your fever and headache symptoms. Over-the-counter (OTC) medication can help reduce symptoms like fever and headache, though it will not cure your infection. Take aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin IB) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).[1]
    • To help loosen and rid of secretions that harbor bacteria in your lungs you may choose mucolytic OTC products such as Mucinex. Make sure to drink a full glass of water with your mucolytic medicine.
    • OTC medication can interact negatively with prescription medication, such as blood pressure medications. Talk to your doctor before you take OTC medication for walking pneumonia if you are taking prescription medication.

Method 2
Doing Home Care

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    Have at least 10 to 12 glasses of water or warm fluids each day. Drinking lots of fluids will help maintain secretion and expectorate from your lungs, which will help to clean out the infection. You can add honey and lemon to hot water to get a boost of vitamin C, especially if you have a sore throat.
    • You can also have green tea, as it contain antioxidants, and fruit juices, which contain vitamins and minerals.
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    Let your body rest. Rest is essential to recovering from walking pneumonia, as your body will need to focus its energies on fighting off the infection. Try to put your feet up and stay in bed, even if this means missing an appointment or a class.
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    Have highly nutritious, easy to digest foods. Focus on maintaining a diet of soups, such as chicken soup or chicken bouillon, and small, nutritious meals throughout the day. You do not want to tire out your body with big meals but you should try to provide your immune system with nutrients so it can fight off the virus.[2]
    • Start with an egg and mushroom omelette for breakfast. Eggs are a good source of zinc, which can boost your immune system, and are also easy to digest. Mushrooms also contain glucans. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to your omelette to help break down the mucus in your lungs and increase drainage.
    • Prepare yogurt with fruit for lunch or as a snack. The active cultures in yogurt can help to improve your gut bacteria and your immune system.
    • Make a dinner with foods that are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. These include red peppers, oranges, berries, and leafy green vegetables. You should also include foods high in beta-carotenes and vitamin A, such as carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes. Go for yellow or orange colored foods.

Method 3
Using Herbal Treatments and Supplements

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    Have echinacea tea or elderberry tea. You can make your own echinacea tea or buy it at your local health food store. Echinacea has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help to fight off the symptoms of walking pneumonia. Make your own echinacea tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in one cup of boil water for five to ten minutes.[3]
    • You can also make your own elderberry tea or buy elderberry tea at your local health food store. Elderberry can help to treat respiratory infections and is often popular with kids.[4]
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    Eat more garlic. Garlic has powerful antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties that can fight against walking pneumonia.[5]
    • Mince 1 teaspoon garlic and add it to a cup of boiling water to steep. You can also add garlic to your chicken soup or other easy to digest foods you eat while sick.
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    Consume more ginger. Ginger can help to settle an upset stomach and also has antiviral and antibacterial properties. You can make your own ginger tea by steeping chopped ginger in hot water or buy ginger tea at your local health food store.[6]
    • Ginger tea is safe for consumption by pregnant women and children.
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    Do an herbal steam treatment. Inhaling boiled herbs can help to clean out your lungs and throat of the virus.
    • Start by boiling two inches of water in a pot over the stove and then turn off the heat. Add ½ teaspoon of thyme, oregano, and one to two drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
    • Use a towel to cover your head and hover 12 – 15 inches away from the steam. Make a tent over your head with the towel and inhale the steam through your mouth and nose.
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    Take vitamin supplements. Load up on minerals and vitamins by taking supplements like vitamin C.[7]
    • You can also take zinc supplements. Only take the recommended amount on the label, as zinc can be toxic in high amounts.
    • Consider taking selenium supplements, an essential mineral that can help with antioxidant reactions. Some people lack selenium due to the soil that is selenium deficient in their area. Only take up to 100 mcg/day of selenium.
    • Take probiotic supplement as antibiotics destroy your healthy gut flora.


  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom to help to loosen your secretions.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Use deep and slow breathing techniques to expand and oxygenate your lungs to help rid of mucous. Deep breathing may trigger cough.
  • Stay hydrated and take mucolytics, which should make your cough productive and speed up your recovery.
  • Recovery from pneumonia can be hard and prolonged. It can take up to three to four weeks to feel more energy and get back to your normal routine.

Article Info

Categories: Infectious Diseases