What is Mycoplasma pneumonia? — Mycoplasma pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause a cough, fever, sore throat, and other symptoms. This type of pneumonia is slightly different from the type of pneumonia that people normally think of when they hear that term. Mycoplasma pneumonia is caused by different bacteria than run-of-the-mill pneumonia. The symptoms it causes are also slightly different.
What are the symptoms of Mycoplasma pneumonia in children? — The symptoms of Mycoplasma pneumonia come on slowly in children. At first, a child might have a headache and a mild fever, and just not feel well. Later, the child might get a sore throat and cough. These symptoms are not that different from those of a common cold. But Mycoplasma pneumonia can also cause other symptoms, including:
A red, bumpy rash
Upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea
Pain in the knees, hips, or other joints
Should my child see a doctor or nurse? — Yes. If you think your child has the symptoms described above, see a doctor or nurse right away.
Call for an ambulance (in the US and Canada, dial 9-1-1) if your child:
Starts to turn blue or very pale
Has a very hard time breathing (figure 1)
Looks like he or she is getting tired from having to work so hard to breathe
If a doctor or nurse thinks your child might have pneumonia, he or she will do an exam and listen to your child's breathing. He or she might also take an X-ray of your child's chest and run some blood tests.
How is Mycoplasma pneumonia treated? — Mycoplasma pneumonia is treated with a specific type of antibiotic. Antibiotics are medicines that kill bacteria. They are available in pill or liquid form. Make sure that your child takes all of his or her antibiotics, even if he or she starts feeling better before finishing them!
How soon will my child feel better? — Most children who are treated with antibiotics start to feel better 2 to 3 days after they start taking the medicine. Even so, your child might still feel tired or have a cough for a few weeks or even months after being treated. It might also be a few months before he or she can breathe comfortably while exercising.
How should I take care of my child at home? — Try to keep your child as comfortable as possible, and make sure that he or she gets lots of rest. You should also give your child plenty of fluids to drink. For babies and very young children, it might help to offer small amounts of fluids frequently (instead of large amounts less often).
Medicines such as acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin) can help relieve pain and discomfort caused by fever. The correct dose depends on your child's weight, so ask your child's doctor how much to give.
Do not give your child medicines that quiet a cough. These medicines do not usually work well, and they can have serious side effects in children. Also, do not give aspirin or medicines that contain aspirin to children younger than 18 years. In children, aspirin can cause a serious problem called Reye syndrome.
Call your child's doctor or nurse if your child does not seem to be getting better after 2 days. Your child might need a different type of treatment.
What can I do to keep my child from getting pneumonia again? — Wash your child's hands often with soap and water. It is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection. You can use an alcohol rub instead, but make sure the hand rub gets everywhere on your child's hands.
There are several vaccines that help to protect against pneumonia. Talk to your child's doctor or nurse about which vaccines your child should get, and when he or she should get them.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 87113 Version 5.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.