Mycoplasma pneumonia is an infection of the respiratory tract that can cause symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, and cough. One of the most effective mycoplasma pneumonia treatments is antibiotic medication, and a doctor is able to prescribe the most effective drug based on age, overall health, and underlying medical conditions. The symptoms of mycoplasma pneumonia can also be alleviated with a variety of over-the-counter medications.
Mycoplasma pneumonia is often called “walking pneumonia” because affected patients generally are able to carry on with daily life. They have symptoms such as tiredness, cough, headache, low-grade fever, and sore throat. The diagnosis of mycoplasma pneumonia is often made clinically, based on symptoms reported by the patient. If the diagnosis is in question, it can be verified by culturing a sputum sample.
To understand the best mycoplasma pneumonia treatment, it helps to understand what mycoplasma pneumonia is. The illness is the result of infection by a small bacterial species called Mycoplasma pneumoniae. The bacteria are transmitted between people by respiratory droplets or respiratory secretions. After being inhaled, the bacteria can attach to different elements of the respiratory tract and multiply. The bacteria lack cell walls, which is an important criterion in picking what type of antibiotic medication to use.
The mainstay of mycoplamsa pneumonia treatment is antibiotics. In general, antibiotics work by selectively killing bacterial cells while leaving human cells unharmed. There are many types of antibiotic medications, and the choice of antibiotics is guided by the biochemical properties of the bacterium causing the infection. For example, drugs such as penicillin attack bacterial cell walls, so even though they effectively kill many bacteria, they are ineffective against species such as mycoplasma, which lack cell walls.
One class of antibiotics that works well as a mycoplasma pneumonia treatment is the macrolide antibiotic class. Examples of generic macrolide antibiotics include clarithromycin, erythromycin, and clarithromycin. A five-day course of these pills is typically given to treat mycoplasma pneumonia. Macrolides are generally well-tolerated, but side effects can include diarrhea and nausea.
Another type of antibiotic effective as a mycoplasma pneumonia treatment is the tetracycline antibiotic. Examples of generic tetracycline antibiotics include doxycycline and tetracycline. Patients generally take one pill a day for seven to 14 days as a treatment for pneumonia. Side effects include sun sensitivity, rash, and nausea. Pregnant patients and children under the age of 8 should not take tetracycline medications.
Other mycoplasma pneumonia treatment options focus on alleviating the symptoms caused by the illness. Acetaminophen can be used to decrease fevers and to alleviate the aches and pains a person with mycoplasma pneumonia might have. Coughing can be reduced with medications such as benzonatate, guaifenesin, or codeine. Patients with mycoplasma pneumonia should be sure to eat healthy food, drink plenty of fluids, and get enough rest to help speed recovery.