How Can I Tell if I Have Bronchitis or Pneumonia?

Developing a cough is common with many different illnesses, especially during the winter season. While a cough is not necessarily an immediate cause for concern, it may be the indication of the beginning of a chest or lung infection.

Bronchitis and pneumonia are both infections that can become severe if they aren’t monitored closely, so it is important to receive a proper diagnosis and watch your symptoms carefully. Our AFC Urgent Care Knoxville team explains the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia below, so read on.

Are Bronchitis and Pneumonia the Same Infection?

It is true that both infections affect areas of your chest and can cause similar symptoms. However, the locations of the two infections are different. Bronchitis settles into your bronchial tubes, which are responsible for transporting air into your lungs. Pneumonia comes from an infection in your alveoli, which are the little sacs that help transport oxygen and carbon dioxide through your blood.

Both infections can cause a deep cough with mucus, so keep an eye on your other symptoms that can help you determine what you are suffering from. Pneumonia symptoms tend to be more widespread throughout your body and cause full body aches and chills. Bronchitis more commonly stays in your chest area.

Common Symptoms of a Lung Infection

  • Difficulty taking a full breath
  • Deep cough with clear or green mucus
  • Chest tightness
  • Fever

How Do I Treat Bronchitis and Pneumonia?

If your specific case is caused by a bacterial exposure, you may be prescribed antibiotics to help eradicate the infection. If a virus caused your illness, you will most likely just have to wait it out and give your body the time it needs to overcome the infection. While most infections go away on their own in a matter of a week, a cough may stick around for a while.

If your symptoms don’t go away or get worse over time, seeking medical support quickly can help prevent a serious infection from occurring. Untreated bronchitis can turn into pneumonia, and pneumonia can even be deadly for more vulnerable populations like older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.

Signs Your Pneumonia Is Serious

  • High fever that lasts for days
  • Chest pain
  • Blood in your mucus
  • Fatigue and confusion

Do you have a concerning cough? Stop by AFC Urgent Care Knoxville today.