Difference Between Pneumonia and Walking Pneumonia (With table)

Pneumonia is the disease of the lungs that causes inflammation in the alveoli ( air sacs present in the lungs responsible for the exchange of Carbon dioxide and Oxygen). The air sacs get filled with fluid or pus and result in inflammation.

This can be a deadly disease for infants, children, and people aged over 65. On the other hand, Walking Pneumonia is the other non-medical term for pneumonia but on a lower level. Walking Pneumonia is generally called atypical pneumonia in the medical language.

Pneumonia vs Walking Pneumonia

The difference between Pneumonia and Walking Pneumonia is that Pneumonia is a lung disease that inflames the air sacs present in the lungs and fills them with fluid resulting in complex conditions. On the flip side, Walking Pneumonia is just an imperceptible version of Pneumonia that can be treated easily with a basic treatment.

Pneumonia, being on the severe side can even lead to death if the sensitivity increases. A person with pneumonia may experience high fever, cough with mucus, shortness of breath, and chest pain. The severity of this disease can take you to the route of getting hospitalized. Treatment may take longer to rehabilitate one.

Walking pneumonia is the milder stage of pneumonia. People diagnosed with Walking Pneumonia may even don’t determine it to be pneumonia as it shows slight and different symptoms such as cold, dry cough, and a little fever, one may misunderstand this with a viral infection.

Comparison Table Between Pneumonia and Walking Pneumonia

Parameter of comparisonPneumoniaWalking Pneumonia
MeaningPneumonia is the disease of the lungs that causes inflammation in the alveoli.Walking Pneumonia is the other non-medical term for pneumonia but on a lower stage.
Risk factorsHigher risk factorsLower risk factors
TypesThere are 3 types of Pneumonia, Bacterial Pneumonia, viral Pneumonia, and fungal Pneumonia.Walking Pneumonia is majorly of one Bacterial type. Caused by Bacterial infections
TreatmentTreatments like breathing treatments, corticosteroids, intravenous fluids, and oral antibiotics may be needed. Severe patients need to be hospitalizedTreatment can be done at home with the doctor’s guidance. An adequate amount of water should be taken and proper medical care as soon as one is diagnosed with Walking Pneumonia.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a common disease among children. Let’s have a look at what the statistics show about pneumonia. In 2017 around 2.56 million people died of pneumonia and most of them were children aged below 5 years.

Pneumonia is the major cause of death in children especially those below the age of 5. Viral Pneumonia tops the list when it comes to the largest number of hospitalizations of infants in the world and especially in the United States.

Several factors that are responsible for pneumonia and cause different types of pneumonia.

Bacterial Pneumonia

Streptococcus pneumoniae is considered to be the main cause of bacterial Pneumonia. While Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Legionella pneumophila stands for the other causes.

Bacterial Pneumonia appears to attract life-threatening risks for the diagnosed individual.

Viral Pneumonia

Viral Pneumonia is the second common Pneumonia that people suffer from. One may be diagnosed with a viral infection from coming in contact with influenza A, B, and C viruses and various other viruses like parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and varicella virus.

This type of pneumonia is not deadly but people frequently get diagnosed with viral Pneumonia than the other types.

Fungal Pneumonia

Fungal Pneumonia is caused by fungal spores (associated with lung diseases). Pneumocystis jirovecii, Cryptococcus species, and Histoplasmosis species are some of the fungi that are responsible for fungal Pneumonia.

People may attract these fungi from bird droppings or soil. Fungal Pneumonia has as high as 90% of mortality rate in people with weak immune systems.

People diagnosed with this disease if remained untreated are at a higher risk of death.

Know as we know the three main types of Pneumonia,

  • Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia
  • Community-Acquired Pneumonia
  • Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia
  • and Aspiration Pneumonia (when bacteria enters our lungs through food or saliva)

are the other names that Pneumonia is classified into.

Is Pneumonia Contagious?

Yes, Pneumonia is contagious, it may transfer from person to person or by the surface and environment.

What is Walking Pneumonia?

Walking Pneumonia as mentioned earlier is the non-medical name of mild Pneumonia. Bacterial infection is the main cause of Walking Pneumonia including Bacteria like Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydophila Pneumoniae, and Legionella Pneumoniae ( being the cause for the most severe type of Pneumonia).

Symptoms include

  • Sore throat
  • Mild fever
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Labored breathing
  • Dry cough

Walking Pneumonia is easier to get treatedBut it is not easier to get recognized as the symptoms replicate viral infections such as a cold and a cough hence in some cases symptoms come into consideration when getting severe.

Walking Pneumonia needs longer to get cured than Pneumonia, however can be treated with normal treatments including antibiotics.

Main Differences Between Pneumonia and Walking Pneumonia

  1. Pneumonia and Walking Pneumonia both are lung diseases but differ on the severity level. Walking Pneumonia is a mind version of Pneumonia.
  2. There are three main causes of Pneumonia but in Walking Pneumonia, the bacterial infection is the main reason.
  3. Pneumonia has a higher risk factor while on the other hand Walking Pneumonia is mild and involves lower risk factors.
  4. Treatment of Pneumonia doesn’t take long while walking Pneumonia takes as long as six weeks of treatment to cure.
  5. Symptoms of Pneumonia may get severe as the shortening of breath, high fever while symptoms of walking Pneumonia is mild and as of viral infection.


We have discussed all the major differences between Pneumonia and Walking Pneumonia. The first and foremost thing that has been highlighted is the parameter of severity. Pneumonia and walking Pneumonia both are a type of lung disease that inflames the air sacs present in the lung but walking Pneumonia includes much lower risk than Pneumonia even can be treated at home while Pneumonia sometimes needs proper hospitalization and treatments.

Both walking Pneumonia and Pneumonia get riskier for people with a weaker immune system. Walking Pneumonia can get riskier for people with chronic disease, people surrounded by medical conditions, and with smoking and alcohol.

Both are hazardous for old age people and children, symptoms like mental confusion can be seen in old age people while children may become pale due to low oxygen levels.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5357734/
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1517/14656566.7.5.499
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