Viral And Bacterial Infections
Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus. Less often, it’s caused by a bacteria.
In most cases, bronchitis is caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold or flu.
The virus is contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when someone coughs or sneezes.
These droplets typically spread about 1m. They hang suspended in the air for a while, then land on surfaces, where the virus can survive for up to 24 hours.
Anyone who touches these surfaces can spread the virus further by touching something else.
What Is Walking Pneumonia
- The causative organism is Mycoplasma pneumonia.
- It is transmitted from person to person by droplet infection. It can affect people of all ages.
- Walking pneumonia occurs commonly in closed environments like colleges, classrooms and hospitals.
- Signs and symptoms of this type of pneumonia develop slowly over a period of few days to months and can be treated on the basis of out-patient department treatment.
- Symptoms initially appear like the common cold. A cough is dry and unproductive.
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Himanshi is a Homoeopathic consultant and currently working as a lecturer in Post-graduate faculty of Homeopathy, Parul University, Vadodara. Completed BHMS and MD in Homeopathy in January 2018 and also has a clinical experience of about 6 years. Personal interests include reading, spending time with family and traveling.
How Are Pneumonia And Bronchitis Treated
If their disease is detected early enough, most people with pneumonia or bronchitis can be treated at home. Early treatment is essential in order to prevent life-threatening complications. These serious cases generally require hospitalization.
In young and healthy patients, early antibiotic treatment can cure bacterial pneumonia and can improve recovery from other organisms but there is no effective treatment for viral pneumonia. Which drugs are used will depend on the type of organism causing the infection and your doctors judgment.
Supportive treatment includes: proper diet, oxygen when needed, medication for chest pain and therapy to relieve cough.
A vigorous young person may recovery completely within one week. Older patients take longer to recover. Someone recovering from mycoplasma pneumonia may be weak for an extended period of time.
The most effective way to treat bronchitis is to get lots of rest, stay indoors if the weather is cold and windy and drink lots of fluid to help liquefy mucus. Mucus should be coughed up so avoid using cough suppressants.
Your doctor may prescribe or recommend an expectorant medication to help loosen mucus, or bronchodilators to open air passages. Older people, who generally have lower resistance to bacterial infection, may need to take antibiotics.
Don’t Miss: Does Medicare Cover The Pneumonia Shot
How Do You Treat Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a serious condition that has the potential to permanently harm your lungs or even develop into a much more serious condition called bacteremia. Full respiratory failure is even possible in extreme cases. As a result, treatment for pneumonia can be more involved than for bronchitis.
In cases of pneumonia that are caused by bacteria, your doctor will put you on antibiotics to help your body fight off the infection. This can be an effective tool to help put you on the path to health, but it will only work if bacteria are the cause of your pneumonia. If viruses are to blame, your treatment will look different.
As is the case with viral bronchitis, steroid inhalers or other anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to help manage the inflammation response your body produces when infections are present. Additionally, getting rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking over-the-counter medication for pain and other symptoms if allowed by your doctor will give your body its greatest chance of recovering quickly.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms can vary from so mild you barely notice them, to so severe that hospitalization is required. How your body responds to pneumonia depends on the type germ causing the infection, your age and your overall health.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Cough, which may produce greenish, yellow or even bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
- Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting, especially in small children
- Confusion, especially in older people
Don’t Miss: Do You Have A Fever When You Have Pneumonia
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
Your cough wont go away, and you feel miserable. Do you have bronchitis? Is it pneumonia? How can you tell?
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tree, which is a tree-looking series of tubes that carry air into your lungs. These tubes swell and fill with mucus when they are infected, which makes it hard to breathe.
Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus, but it can also be caused by bacteria.
If you have bronchitis, your symptoms could include a cough that brings up mucus, wheezing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and a low fever.
Pneumonia is an infection that can settle in one or both of your lungs. Though pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi, bacteria is the most common cause.
Pneumonia causes the air sacs in your lungs to fill with fluid. Symptoms that go along with the sickness include cough, fever, chills and trouble breathing.
Bacterial pneumonia can make you very sick very fast, so its important to get medical help quickly and be treated with antibiotics. However, about one-third of the cases of pneumonia in the U.S. each year are caused by viruses, says the American Lung Association. Viral pneumonia cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Theres typically not distinct symptoms that can tell pneumonia and bronchitis apart, because they typically overlap with cough, fever, sometimes difficulty breathing, as well, says physician assistant Breanna Veal, PA-C.
Treatment For Chest Infections
Most people with bronchitis can be treated at home and make a full recovery. Assessment of the severity of pneumonia is complex. Some patients can be managed at home on simple antibiotics. Those assessed as severe may require admission to the intensive care unit and their illness may be life threatening.Treatment options include:
- Your doctor will advise you about any medications you need to get over this attack.
- Some people need to be admitted to hospital for further treatment, particularly young children and the elderly who are at greater risk of serious complications.
- Review with your local doctor may be needed within 48 hours, especially if you are not improving, and again in six weeks to make sure that you have made a full recovery. A chest x-ray may be needed at this time.
You May Like: How Can I Treat Pneumonia At Home
Preventing Pneumonia With Vaccine
While anyone can get pneumonia, infants under the age of two, adults over the age of 65, and people who have chronic medical conditions are most at risk due to a weaker immune system that may not be strong enough to fight the infection. Your health insurance coverage, including Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage , covers some vaccines and immunizations that can help prevent infection by some of the bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia, including:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b
What Are The Causes Of Pneumonia
The table below will help you understand different types of pneumonia and how they are caused. Each type of pneumonia has plenty of causative organisms or mechanisms.
|Type of Pneumonia|
|Tuberculosis, salmonella typhi and paratyphi, SARS, H1N1, leptospirosis|
Streptococcus Pneumonia responsible for maximum cases of pneumonia and often results in severe forms of pneumonia.
H. Influenza Pneumonia occurs commonly in patients having chronic underlying lung affections. Legionella air conditioners are the most common source.
Read Also: How To Help With Pneumonia Cough
What Are Bronchitis And Covid
It’s important to know the difference between these two illnesses.
Bronchitis happens when the bronchial tubes that carry oxygen to your lungs become inflamed and irritated. These irritated airways then produce excess mucus and cause you to cough. Acute bronchitis typically will get better on its own. It can develop into pneumonia when not properly cared for.
COVID-19 is a new type of virus that has caused a global pandemic.
There are many different types of coronaviruses. Some cause mild illnesses such as colds. Some cause more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome .
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person. Symptoms usually appear within two weeks of exposure. You can spread COVID-19 to others even if you don’t have any symptoms yourself.
What Are The Types Of Bronchitis
Bronchitis can be acute or chronic:
Acute bronchitis comes on quickly and can cause severe symptoms. But it lasts no more than a few weeks. Viruses cause most cases of bronchitis. Many different viruses can infect the respiratory tract and attack the bronchial tubes. Infection by some bacteria can also cause acute bronchitis. Most people have acute bronchitis at some point in their lives.
Chronic bronchitis is rare in children. It can be mild to severe and lasts longer . The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking. The bronchial tubes stay inflamed and irritated, and make lots of mucus over time. People who have chronic bronchitis have a higher risk of bacterial infections of the airway and lungs, like pneumonia.
Don’t Miss: Signs Of Pneumonia In Dogs
When To See Your Gp
Most cases of bronchitis can be treated easily at home with rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and plenty of fluids.
You only need to see your GP if your symptoms are severe or unusual for example, if:
- your cough is severe or lasts longer than three weeks
- you have a constant fever for more than three days
- you cough up mucus streaked with blood
- you have an underlying heart or lung condition, such as asthma or heart failure
Your GP may need to rule out other lung infections, such as pneumonia, which has symptoms similar to those of bronchitis. If your GP thinks you may have pneumonia, you will probably need a chest X-ray, and a sample of mucus may be taken for testing.
If your GP thinks you might have an undiagnosed underlying condition, they may also suggest a pulmonary function test. You will be asked to take a deep breath and blow into a device called a spirometer, which measures the volume of air in your lungs. Decreased lung capacity can indicate an underlying health problem.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Chest Infection
The main symptoms of a chest infection can include:
- coughing up yellow or green phlegm , or coughing up blood
- breathlessness or rapid and shallow breathing
- chest pain or tightness
- feeling confused and disorientated
You may also experience more general symptoms of an infection, such as a headache, fatigue, sweating, loss of appetite, or joint and muscle pain.
Read Also: Can Urgent Care Test For Pneumonia
When To Seek Help
If you think youre experiencing the symptoms of pneumonia, seek immediate medical attention. Like most illnesses, treatment of pneumonia is more successful the earlier its caught.
Untreated pneumonia can escalate quickly, so dont delay. Even if you think your symptoms are relatively mild and might only be bronchitis, still get it checked out. Bronchitis might also require antibiotics if its caused by a bacterial infection.
The treatment for pneumonia depends upon the cause. Antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal drugs are all used to treat the different types of pneumonia. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medication.
Many cases of pneumonia can be treated at home with oral medications. But if your symptoms are severe or you have other health concerns, your doctor may recommend hospitalization. Your treatments in the hospital might include intravenous antibiotics, respiratory therapy, or oxygen therapy.
How Do You Know If You Have Bronchitis Or Copd
For either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include:
- Production of mucus , which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color rarely, it may be streaked with blood.
- Chest discomfort.
What is the difference between copd and bronchitis?
Similarly, you may ask, what is the difference between COPD and bronchitis?Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two different lung conditions that make up an overall condition called COPD. Both conditions can cause breathing difficulty and shortness of breath. People with chronic bronchitis will have a long-term cough that produces mucus. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .
how do I know if I have acute or chronic bronchitis?acute bronchitischronic bronchitis
Don’t Miss: How Do You Check For Pneumonia
When To See A Doctor
If you feel like you have either bronchitis or pneumonia, its always a good idea to check in with your doctor. If the underlying cause is bacterial, you should start feeling much better within a day or two of starting antibiotics.
Otherwise, call your doctor if your cough or wheezing doesnt improve after two weeks.
You should also seek immediate medical care if you notice:
- blood in your phlegm
- a fever over 100.4°F that lasts for more than a week
- shortness of breath
How To Know If You Have Pneumonia Or Bronchitis
Pneumonia and bronchitis are both respiratory conditions that can affect your breathing, cause a painful cough, and be accompanied by cold or flu-like symptoms. What is the difference between pneumonia and bronchitis? One big difference is where it develops in your body. Pneumonia develops in your lungs, while bronchitis develops in the airways that lead to your lungs. Pneumonia can be viral and fungal, but it is most commonly bacterial in adults, which means it can be treated with antibiotics. On the other hand, bronchitis that is typically viral cannot be treated with antibiotics. Compared to acute bronchitis, pneumonia typically has more severe symptoms. However, its important to keep an eye on bronchitis which can turn into pneumonia.
Despite this information, some of the similar symptoms can still make it difficult to know whether you or someone you care for has bronchitis or pneumonia. A doctor can make an accurate diagnosis, but there are a few things that can help you further understand the symptoms of both.
Don’t Miss: Can Vaping Give You Pneumonia
In General What Is Bronchitis And What Is Pneumonia
The American Lung Association says bronchitisspecifically acute bronchitisis the sudden development of inflammation in the bronchial tubes, or the lungs’ major airways. The infection gets beyond the confines of the bronchial tubes and actually gets into the substance of the lung, Dr. Schaffner says. Then it causes inflammation in the tissues of the lung.
Most cases of bronchitis are caused by viruses, often the same viruses that are responsible for common colds and the flu. The same virus that causes the common cold settles lower down and causes bronchitis in some people, Ephraim L. Tsalik, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Duke Health in Durham, North Carolina, tells Health. But bronchitis is often not severe, is temporary, and usually doesn’t cause any permanent lung damage.
Pneumonia, on the other hand, is an infection in one or both of the lungs, affecting the air sacs of the lungs, causing them to fill up with fluid or pus. according to the US National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus resource.
Bacteria is the most common cause of pneumonia, per MedlinePlus, and it can occur on its own, or it can be the result of a viral infection, like the cold or the flu. Viruses, too, can cause pneumonialike respiratory syncytial virus or SARS-CoV-2 though those cases are often less severe. Fugal infections can lead to pneumonia too, but commonly only occur in those with chronic health issues or weakened immune systems.
How Can You Prevent Pneumonia
If you have bronchitis, the best way to prevent pneumonia is to treat the condition early. Recognizing the symptoms of bronchitis can help you get treatment sooner. Early symptoms of bronchitis are similar to those of a cold or the flu. They may include:
- runny nose
- fever of 100°F to 100.4°F
- feeling tired
- back and muscle aches
Youll then develop a dry cough which will become productive after a few days. A productive cough is one that produces mucus. The mucus may be yellow or green.
Bacterial bronchitis more commonly leads to pneumonia than viral bronchitis. Thats because the bacteria multiply and spread.
In some cases, its still possible to contract pneumonia even if youre taking antibiotics to treat bronchitis. This is because antibiotics are very specifically selected for the bacteria theyre targeting. If youre taking antibiotics for one type of bacteria, its still possible for pneumonia to be caused by another type.
Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics if you have bacterial bronchitis. Antibiotics cant treat viral bronchitis or any other virus.
Its possible for anyone to develop pneumonia following bronchitis, but certain groups of people are at greater risk. These groups typically have weakened immune systems. You may be at an increased risk for pneumonia following bronchitis if you:
- are under the age of 2 or over the age of 65
- have had a stroke
Recommended Reading: Is There A Test For Pneumonia
Symptoms Of Chest Infections
Pneumonia is more common in winter and spring. It can strike suddenly or come on slowly over a few days. The symptoms will depend on your age, the cause and severity of the infection, and any other medical problems you may have. Symptoms include:
- Fast or difficult breathing
- Coughing with brown or green-coloured phlegm
- Blue colour around the lips
- Stomach pain
- A child may vomit, have diarrhoea and be irritable or lethargic.