What is mycoplasma pneumonia?

Mycoplasma pneumonia is considered as a type of pneumonia that is triggered by the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae. This is considered as a mild form of pneumonia than the viral or bacterial and often referred to as “walking pneumonia”. Nevertheless, this type of pneumonia can be any type of mild pneumonia.

Symptoms of mycoplasma pneumonia

The symptoms of mycoplasma pneumonia can include the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough (usually dry)
  • Headache
  • Fever and chills
  • Sore throat
  • Excessive sweating

Other uncommon symptoms that can manifest include muscle aches, eye or ear pain, joint pain, rashes and rapid breathing. The symptoms typically develop on a slower manner over a span of 1-3 weeks.

Mycoplasma-pneumonia
The symptoms typically develop on a slower manner over a span of 1-3 weeks.

Possible causes

Unlike with other types of pneumonia that typically affect older adults, Mycoplasma pneumonia is quite common among individuals below 40 years old. This type of pneumonia frequently affects individuals who live or work in certain group environments such as schools or college dormitories. Nevertheless, even though those who do not spend time in these environments can acquire the condition.

Take note that mycoplasma pneumonia can be passed on by contact with respiratory secretions. The other types of pneumonia develop as complications from other infections such as flu or cold but mycoplasma pneumonia can spread from one individual to another. This is the reason why it is quite common in environments where individuals are in close contact for prolonged periods of time.

Treatment

This type of pneumonia can be managed with antibiotics but many individuals can recover on their own without requiring treatment. There are several considerations to bear in mind that can be done at home if an individual has mycoplasma pneumonia.

  • Provide the individual with over-the-counter fever medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin. Take note that aspirin should not be given to a child below 18 years old.
  • Use a humidifier to help maintain the moistness of the airways
  • Do not use cough medications unless prescribed by the doctor. Take note that cough suppressants will make it difficult for the body to cough up the mucus which can potentially worsen pneumonia.
  • Encourage the individual to rest as much as possible to allow the body to heal.
  • Provide the individual with plenty of fluids to stay properly hydrated as well as break up mucus in the chest and head.

What are the possible complications?

  • Severe pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Skin rashes
  • Hemolytic anemia

Once an individual has been diagnosed with pneumonia but feel that the symptoms are becoming worse, individual gets better but the symptoms worsen or other symptoms develop, a doctor should be consulted. These indicate that the individual developed a secondary infection or complication. Those who have weakened immune systems, young children and the elderly are more likely to develop complications.

Prevention

Mycoplasma pneumonia is difficult to prevent since it spreads easily from one individual to another. In addition, the symptoms are mild that an infected individual does not know they he/she has pneumonia.

In case the individual develops cough and fever, a doctor should be consulted. Even though these symptoms can be triggered by various illnesses, the doctor can determine whether or not he/she has pneumonia.

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