Walking Pneumonia Reported at School
But school administrators and local doctors are not alarmed by the treatable illness.
Parents of Chartiers Valley Primary School students received letters Monday about “walking pneumonia” cases inside the building, but neither school administrators nor local doctors are alarmed.
School officials said “a few” walking pneumonia cases have been reported at the school, but added that the letter to parents was considered only precautionary to inform parents of the issue.
“I don’t think it’s a problem,” district spokeswoman Kara Droney said. “We’re just trying to promote healthy habits like hand washing this winter. I think this is more preventative. We’re just trying to increase our relationship with parents to work together to keep our students as healthy as possible.”
The letter, which is signed by building principal Ron Yasher, states the cases are not unusual in the region and does not indicate poor air quality at the school. It also states that any children with persistent coughs should see a pediatrician.
“We will continue to reinforce the importance of good hand washing with our students at the school,” Yasher wrote. “We ask that you do the same at home. Together we can keep our students healthy this winter.”
The response by the school district seemed adequate to Dr. Michael Carpathios, who is in St. Clair Hospital’s internal medicine department. He said walking pneumonia is a condition that’s not easily spread like other winter illnesses.
“It’s not something that causes a big outbreak like MRSA or Strep that lay on surfaces. You have to be around someone that is actively coughing,” Carpathios said. “If you’re pretty healthy and not around anyone, you should be ok. You’re not going to just pick it up.”
He urged parents to watch for symptoms such as shortness of breath, a fever above 100 degrees and excessive coughing and phlegm. Carpathios said a chest x-ray usually can detect it and be easily treated with antibiotics.
“It’s just a matter of not letting it go too far,” he said.