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Treatment & Complications

Treatment

A young boy wears an oxygen mask while receiving a breathing treatment

Mycoplasma pnuemoniae infections are generally mild, but some people may require care in a hospital.

Pneumonia (lung infection) caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae) is routinely treated with antibiotics, although most people will recover from the illness on their own without medicine. The illness will usually not last as long if antibiotics are started early.

There are several types of antibiotics available to treat pneumonia caused by M. pneumoniae. If you or your child is diagnosed with a M. pneumoniae infection, your doctor will explain how to treat it.

M. pneumoniae has increasingly been shown to be resistant to some antibiotics. Learn more about the potential danger of antibiotic resistance, and what you can do to prevent it at CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work website.

Complications

While M. pneumoniae infection usually causes mild disease, severe complications can occur that result in needing care or treatment in a hospital. Complications that have been reported include:

  • Severe pneumonia
  • Swelling of the brain (encephalitis)
  • Too few red blood cells, which means fewer cells to deliver oxygen in the body (hemolytic anemia)
  • Kidney problems (renal dysfunction)
  • Skin disorders (Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema multiforme, toxic epidermal necrolysis)
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