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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 illness caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae without medicine. However, if someone develops pneumonia (lung infection) caused by M. pneumoniae, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics as treatment. Antibiotics can help patients recover from the illness faster if started early on.

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

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 causes mild disease, severe complications can occur, resulting in needing 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 (Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema multiforme, toxic epidermal necrolysis)

 

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