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What is ‘walking pneumonia’?

Elton John - REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

What is ‘walking pneumonia’?

Sir Elton John cut his Auckland concert short on Sunday night, after losing his voice mid-show.

What is ‘walking pneumonia’?

The legendary performer cried as he was led offstage, and later apologised via Instagram for being unable to finish the show.

The singer had decided to go ahead with the performance despite being diagnosed with ‘walking pneumonia’.

So what is walking pneumonia? And how does it differ from other types of pneumonia?

‘Walking pneumonia’ is a non-medical term for a mild case of pneumonia, with the technical name being atypical pneumonia.

Atypical pneumonia is caused by different bacteria than the more common ones that cause typical pneumonia.

The condition is an infection caused by bacteria or viruses which mostly affects the respiratory tract.

It’s often caused by a common bacterium called Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

A person with walking pneumonia most likely won’t need to go to hospital or even stay in bed. Some people are able to keep up with their normal routine as they would with a cold – hence the term ‘walking’.

The condition can be contagious, although it’s believed it takes a lot of close contact with an infected person to develop walking pneumonia.

Symptoms of walking pneumonia can include coughing, chest pain, mild flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, sore throat, fatigue, headaches and lingering weakness.

Over-the-counter medications can be used to relieve symptoms, and antibiotics can treat the condition if bacteria is believed to be the cause.

Most people with walking pneumonia start to feel better within three to five days, but a cough can last weeks or months after treatment, which doesn’t bode well for John’s upcoming concerts.

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