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Diseases A–Z

Pneumonia

Mycoplasma pneumonia

What is mycoplasma pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Mycoplasma pneumonia is a kind of pneumonia caused by a tiny germ called Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It is milder than other types of pneumonia and quite common — sometimes it's called "walking pneumonia." People of any age can get mycoplasma pneumonia, but it's more common in people younger than 40. It is a common cause of pneumonia in school-aged children.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae germs spread easily in places where lots of people are close together. People at highest risk for mycoplasma pneumonia are those who live or work in crowded areas like schools, day cares and homeless shelters. Like other types pf pneumonias, you can reduce your risk of getting this and other types of pneumonia.

Signs and symptoms of mycoplasma pneumonia

The symptoms of mycoplasma pneumonia tend to be mild but may become more serious in some people. It is usually more serious in middle-aged and older people.

Common symptoms include:

  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • headache
  • sweating

Less common symptoms include:

  • rash
  • muscle pain
  • fast breathing
  • ear pain
Treatment for mycoplasma pneumonia

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics (drugs that kill the germs causing the infection). But many people get better without antibiotics because symptoms tend to be milder than other types of pneumonia.

What can I expect if I have mycoplasma pneumonia?

Most people get better within one to two weeks. In untreated adults, dry cough and weakness can last for up to a month.

Call your doctor if you have the signs and symptoms of mycoplasma pneumonia. If you have trouble breathing, get emergency medical help right away.

Preventing mycoplasma pneumonia
To help prevent mysoplasma pneumonia, wash your hand properly and often.