Signs & Symptoms
Cough and sore throat are the most common symptoms of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection. Often the cough starts out as a “dry” (nonproductive) cough, but may later become “phlegmy” (productive). Infection can also bring fever, weakness, headache, and rash— and it can trigger an asthma flare-up in a person with asthma. Pneumonia is a common complication. In fact, Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is a leading cause of pneumonia in school-age children and young adults.
Occasionally, people infected with Mycoplasma break out in an unusual target-shaped rash called erythema multiforme.
What can I do today?
Practice prevention—and stop the spread:
- Wash your hands often and well—and have children do the same.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick —and if you’re sick, stay home from school or work.
- Cover your sneezes and coughs.
- Use a tissue once, then throw it away and wash your hands.
- When Mycoplasma pneumonia is going around, pay attention to any symptoms your child may have. Most infections are mild — but be on the lookout for more serious symptoms.
Call your child’s doctor if you notice:
- Wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing in or out)
- Severe, long-lasting cough
- Fast breathing (more than 40 times a minute) or very difficult breathing (retractions, or using the stomach muscles when breathing)
- Signs of dehydration (dry mouth and eyes, little urine, low energy)
- Fever higher than 100.2°F in an infant 3 months or younger
- Fever lasting longer than 3 days
- Any other severe symptoms or symptoms that last longer than 7 days
How It's Spread
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is spread by close personal contact. Infection spreads easily within families — and outbreaks are common in schools, summer camps, and dormitories.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Providers usually diagnose a Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection by taking a medical history and doing a physical exam. The provider may also choose to verify the diagnosis by testing a sample of mucus from the mouth or nose, or by ordering a blood test.
Treatment for Mycoplasma pneumoniae depends on the symptoms and complications. If symptoms are mild, treatment may just mean managing the symptoms until the infection goes away on its own. However, pneumonia may require treatment with antibiotics.
Realted Conditions and Additional Resources
Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.