Is It Contagious?Mycoplasma pneumoniae are contagious bacteria. However, when they spread, in most cases, they cause upper respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, runny nose, or sore throat. Studies show that no more than 1 in 10 Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections actually results in pneumonia.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae are usually found in the mouth and nose of the infected person. They are most often spread to another person through the air, for example, from a person coughing or sneezing. People who live or work in crowded places like schools, homeless shelters, and prisons are most likely to get it.
How Long Before Symptoms Appear?It usually takes about two to three weeks after a person is infected until they start to show symptoms. The signs of mycoplasma show up more gradually, compared to regular pneumonia, so a person may not be able to exactly pinpoint when he or she started feeling sick.
How Is Mycoplasma Pneumonia Diagnosed?Mycoplasma pneumonia is diagnosed based on the symptoms a person has plus the physical exam. In some cases, a chest x-ray and/or blood tests are needed to help confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for Mycoplasma PneumoniaMycoplasma pneumonia is usually mild and responds well to treatment with antibiotics. But it can be serious in some people.
Antibiotics that may be prescribed to treat the infection include:
- Azithromycin (Zithromax®)
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin®)
- Levofloxacin (Levaquin®)
- Moxifloxacin (Avelox®).
The antibiotics should be taken exactly as prescribed. This will decrease the chances of the drug not completely eliminating the infection.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) can be used for pain relief and/or fever. Cough medicines are usually not recommended. The only time they are recommended is to help a person sleep. Getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids will also help.