I have been sick with what I thought was the cold for over a month now. It's almost impossible to walk up Mt. Everest (what we call the hill to the dorms) three times a day, and I'm out of tissues already. I sleep way too much, which would explain why I'm failing all of my midterms. After a week or so of this unexplained bout of illness, I began to think that maybe I was coming down with mono again. But I didnt have a lot of the symptoms, just fatigue and sore throat, so I talked to the cool custodian Rodney who seems to know everything and he told me that I could have walking pneumonia. I just toughed it out because I was too scared to go to a doctor, but I'm pretty sure that walking pneumonia is what I had.

Here are the facts to support my suspicions:

Mycoplasma Infection: (walking pneumonia, atypical pneumonia)

Mycoplasma infection mostly infects older children and younger adults, and is most common during the late summer and fall. It is spread through contact with droplets from the nose and throat of infected people when they cough and sneeze. Transmission is thought to require prolonged close contact with an infected person. The contagious period is probably fewer than 10 days and occasionally longer.

Typical symptoms include fever, cough, bronchitis, sore throat, headache and malaise. A common result of mycoplasma infection is pneumonia (sometimes called ³walking pneumonia² because it is usually mild and rarely requires hospitalization). Infections of the middle ear (otitis) also can result. Symptoms may persist for a few days to more than a month. They generally begin 15-25 days after exposure, and generally develop slowly, over a period of two to four days.

Immunity after mycoplasma infection does occur, but is not life-long. Second infections are known to occur, although they may be milder. The duration of immunity is unknown.

Antibiotics such as erythromycin or tetracycline are effective treatments. However, because mycoplasma infection usually resolves on its own, antibiotic treatment of mild symptoms is not essential.

Source: New York State Department of Health