Mycoplasma pneumoniae (m. pneumoniae) is a bacterium (a type of biological cell) that infects the lungs and other areas of the respiratory tract. When the lungs become infected with mycoplasma pneumoniae, it can cause respiratory illness—including pneumonia. Pneumonia is when the air sacs of the lungs get infected, inflamed, and fill with fluid.
Pneumonia caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae is considered atypical since it tends to manifest as a milder illness—but symptoms last longer than the ones from bacterial or viral pneumonia. Mycoplasma pneumoniae-related pneumonia can also appear differently than typical pneumonia on an x-ray, and antibiotics that are typically used to treat bacterial pneumonia infections prove ineffective against this kind of pneumonia.
Most mycoplasma pneumoniae infections get better on their own and present with milder symptoms, but in some people, serious complications can arise.
Read more below to learn about mycoplasma pneumoniae-related pneumonia symptoms, risk factors, treatments, and more.
Mycoplasma Pneumoniae-Related Pneumonia Symptoms
About 1 in 10 people infected with mycoplasma pneumoniae bacterium will develop pneumonia. Mycoplasma pneumoniae-related pneumonia symptoms are usually mild and set in over a period of 1–4 weeks. Symptoms include:
- Mucus-producing cough
- Fever and chills
- Chest pain
NOTE: Chest pain can also be an indication of a heart attack. If you are having chest pain and other symptoms of a heart attack, call 911.
- Shortness of breath
In young children (typically under the age of 5), pneumonia caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae often does not cause a fever. Instead, young children’s m. pneumoniae-related pneumonia symptoms may manifest as those of a common cold.
NOTE: If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms and have HIV/AIDS or are in another way immunocompromised, contact your physician immediately. Pneumonia caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae bacterium can be fatal if left untreated in immunocompromised people. You can reach us at 423-710-3864.
Mycoplasma Pneumoniae-Related Pneumonia Risk Factors
Infections of mycoplasma pneumoniae can happen to anyone, but are seen most commonly in young adults and school-aged kids. The adults who are at increased risk of contracting a mycoplasma pneumoniae infection are people who live or work in settings like:
- Nursing homes
- Hospitals (nurses, doctors, etc.)
- Military barracks and facilities
- College dormitories
In addition to people who work in facilities like the ones mentioned above, people who are recovering from an illness that affects the respiratory system and people with a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) are also at a higher risk of developing mycoplasma pneumoniae-related pneumonia. These demographics of people are at risk for developing serious infections and complications, so if you are immunocompromised and suspect you may have any form of pneumonia, call your physician immediately. We can be reached at 423-710-3864.
Mycoplasma Pneumoniae/Related Pneumonia Diagnosis
Diagnosis methods for detecting mycoplasma pneumoniae infections involve several different lab tests, which your doctor can order for you. Once the diagnosis is reached, your physician can then work on a treatment plan to properly care for you.
Mycoplasma Pneumoniae-Related Pneumonia Treatments
For most people, mycoplasma pneumoniae infections and related illnesses will clear up on their own without medication. However, when pneumonia comes as a result of a mycoplasma pneumoniae infection, physicians will usually prescribe antibiotics. The earlier the infection is detected, the quicker people tend to recover. Aside from antibiotics, there are things you can do to help alleviate symptoms of pneumonia. These include:
- Getting as much rest as possible
- Using a humidifier or taking a warm bath
- Drinking a lot of water
- Staying home until your fever goes away and you’re no longer coughing anything up
- Not smoking
In rare cases, hospital visits can be warranted if your pneumonia won’t clear up or is causing particularly severe symptoms. If you do become hospitalized, you will likely receive:
- IV fluids/medication
- Oxygen treatment
- Other breathing treatments to help clear fluid from the lungs
Mycoplasma Pneumonia Prevention
You can’t always prevent yourself from getting mycoplasma pneumoniae-related pneumonia, but there are many things that you can do to reduce the spread of the mycoplasma pneumoniae bacterium. These include:
- Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze (with a tissue, or by coughing/sneezing into your elbow)
- Properly disposing of your used tissues in a garbage can/flushing the tissue down the toilet
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap (or hand sanitizer)
The Lung Docs: Specialized Pulmonary Care
The Lung Docs provides specialized, state-of-the-art pulmonary care to our patients with mycoplasma pneumoniae-related pneumonia in Chattanooga and the surrounding Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia areas.
Dr. Mike’s Approach
I’m Dr. Mike Czarnecki, “The Lung Doc,” and I’m trained in all areas of pulmonary health, including the diagnosis and treatment of mycoplasma pneumoniae-related pneumonia. I will work with you to formulate a personalized mycoplasma pneumoniae-related pneumonia treatment plan so you can live, laugh, love, and breathe better again! To get started, schedule an appointment online or call our office to speak to someone directly. I can’t wait to meet you!