Treatment and Complications

Treatment

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

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

Most people will recover from an infection caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae without antibiotics. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about over-the-counter medicines that can help you feel better while you are recovering.

However, if someone develops pneumonia (lung infection) caused by M. pneumoniae, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics. There are several types of antibiotics available to treat pneumonia caused by M. pneumoniae. Antibiotics can help patients recover from the infection faster if started early on.

Some M. pneumoniae are resistant to some antibiotics used for treatment. Learn more about the potential danger of antibiotic resistance, and how to prevent it at CDC’s Be Antibiotics Aware website.

Complications

While M. pneumoniae usually cause mild infections, severe complications can occur that require care in a hospital. M. pneumoniae infections can cause or worsen the following complications:

  • Serious pneumonia
  • Asthma attacks or new asthma symptoms
  • Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
  • Hemolytic anemia (too few red blood cells, which means fewer cells to deliver oxygen in the body)
  • Renal dysfunction (kidney problems)
  • Skin disorders like Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema multiforme, toxic epidermal necrolysis