Walking Pneumonia; don’t let this trip you up.

The cooler weather has arrived in Central Nebraska. For many it marks the beginning of greater things; beautiful fall colors, pumpkin spice (on nearly everything), hunting and occasional snow flurries. Although many Nebraskans revel at its arrival, this time of the year brings some seasonal unpleasantries…cold, flu and pneumonia. If you haven’t already, you should make sure to protect yourself by getting your annual flu shot.

Walking pneumonia, also known as Mycoplasma pneumoniae, is a bacteria that can cause infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract causing some people to feel only mildly ill. Symptoms include sore throat, fatigue, fever, headache, and a very frequent cough that slowly worsens and can last for weeks to months.

Walking pneumonia is common in children and young adults, and outbreaks often occur in crowded environments like schools, college dormitories, military barracks, and nursing homes. It spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes causing the bacteria to go airborne.

Although there is no vaccine for walking pneumonia, there are ways to help avoid its infection. Make sure to get adequate sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise to keep your body and immune system at optimal levels. Wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and encourage those around you to do the same.

If you find yourself with persistent cough-type symptoms that don’t get better, visit a healthcare provider for proper treatment, as well as rule out any serious illness. Early treatment can reduce your recovery time and get you back to the things you love.