Wednesday, May 24, 2023

How To Tell If I Have Bronchitis Or Pneumonia

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Bronchitis

I Don’t Know If I Have Bronchitis or Pneumonia

Acute bronchitis often starts with a dry, annoying cough triggered by the of the lining of the bronchial tubes.

Other symptoms may include:

For people with chronic bronchitis:

  • It can take longer than usual to recover from colds and other common respiratory illnesses.
  • Wheezing, feeling short of breath, and coughing can happen every day.
  • Breathing can get harder and harder.

How Doctors May Treat Bronchitis That Turns Into Pneumonia

Treatment of pneumonia that has developed after bronchitis can vary depending on factors like age, severity of symptoms, and medical history. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend hospitalization, says Holguin.

If youre not experiencing breathing difficulties or other serious symptoms and your pneumonia is determined to be bacterial, you may be prescribed an oral antibiotic.

Your doctor may also test you for other infections, such as the flu, and depending on your symptoms and test results, recommend an antiviral medication, says Holguin.

If your doctor determines that your pneumonia can be treated at home, they may suggest the following:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids, which can help loosen phlegm and clear it out of your body
  • Getting lots of rest
  • Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever or chest pain

If hospitalized for pneumonia, you may be given these treatments:

  • Oxygen therapy and other breathing treatments
  • Fluids
  • Antimicrobial agents

How Is Acute Bronchitis Treated

Acute bronchitis is usually mild and does not cause complications. The symptoms often resolve on their own and lung function goes back to normal.

In most cases, antibiotics are not needed to treat acute bronchitis. Thats because most of the infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. If it has progressed to pneumonia, then antibiotics may be necessary.

Treatment is aimed at treating the symptoms, and may include:

  • Avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Cough medicine
  • Pain relievers and fever reducers, such as acetaminophen
  • Quitting smoking

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

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What Causes Bronchitis And Pneumonia

Bronchitis is an infection of the lining of bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs, explains Saba Hamiduzzaman, MD, a pulmonologist at Loma Linda University Health in Loma Linda, California.

Bronchitis can either be acute or chronic and often develops after someone gets a cold or other respiratory illness.

1. Acute bronchitis

Acute bronchitis, which is often caused by a virus, could last for a few weeks and resolve on its own. There is usually no long-term damage caused by acute bronchitis, notes Dr. Hamiduzzaman.

Acute bronchitis is always contagious, and when you cough or sneeze on your hands, the virus can spread onto surfaces near you where it can be carried to another individual if they touch those surfaces, she says.

2. Chronic bronchitis

Another type of bronchitis is chronic bronchitis, which happens in patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a history of smoking.

3. Pneumonia

Pneumonia, meanwhile, is an infection of the alveoli, or the air sacs in your lungs that contain the air you breathe in. Pneumonia can become life-threatening, according to Mayo Clinic. Pneumonia is caused by bacterial organisms and rarely involves a virus, meaning it is usually not contagious, as the infection is in the lungs air sacs and does not transmit to your hands or surfaces with coughing, Dr. Hamiduzzaman explains.

What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia

Pneumonia Symptoms and Signs and How Long They Last ...

1. Constitutional symptoms like body ache, fever with chills and rigours, night sweats, disorientation and confusion in elderly patients.2. A cough with expectoration which is purulent or containing blood.4. Pain in the affected part of the lungs on breathing or coughing.5. Occasionally nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite may be present.

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Questions About Your Symptoms

Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. A patient’s mental state may be confused or delirious.

The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days. Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.

Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy. Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.

When to call a doctor

What Causes Pneumonia In Babies

Pneumonia is the worsened condition of cold that gives your baby a hard time.

Medically known respiratory viruses such as Influenza A , respiratory syncytial virus , adenovirus and human metapneumovirus , and bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Hemophilus influenza, Staphylococcus aureus, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae can cause pneumonia in childhood .

If your childs lungs were already infected previously by cold and left untreated, chances are it may catch pneumonia quickly on the various pollutant exposures.

Often parents overlook the hygienic matters for which children catch various germs from the floor, toys, foods, and on whatever places they toddle or crawl.

Germs like virus, bacteria, parasites, or fungi may creep into their delicate nasal line during breathing. Your babies can possibly swallow stuffs without your notice that may carry bacteria. Such residues may enter the lungs from the stomach and affect the air sacks eventually.

Older kids and teenagers are prone to Mycoplasma which makes them suffer with rash, sore throat, or headache in addition to pneumonia condition.

Kids may develop pneumonia symptoms from whooping cough. Having affected by so, they experience long coughing duration, their face going blue for the lack of oxygen, and sound whoop while breathing.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Babies

You should be careful from the moment you realize your child has caught cold.

Pneumonia often comes after cold. You might mistake the pneumonia signs as normal cold condition but they may not.

Remember, pneumonia symptoms may start within 2-3 days from the first cold attack.

Signs of pneumonia may show up depending on the type of virus or bacteria causing the infection.

Below are some common signs and symptoms of pneumonia in babies:

  • Cough and Difficulty Breathing

Pneumonia Complications In Pregnant Women

How do you know if you have Bronchitis or Pneumonia? | Apollo Hospitals

If the mother has pneumonia, she and the expected, the coming child, both will have complications.

Below are few of the complications they can encounter:

Mothers Complication:

  • Empyema may develop in which infection takes place in bloodstream due to excessive fluid around the lung.
  • Oxygen supply lowers while breathing complication rises.
  • Respiratory failure may happen in the worst condition.

Babys Complication:

  • Born with low weight

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What Are The Symptoms Acute Bronchitis

The following are the most common symptoms of acute bronchitis. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Back and muscle pain
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing

The symptoms of acute bronchitis may look like other conditions or medical problems. Talk with a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Chronic Bronchitis Vs Copd

A chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation is another issue entirely when compared to chronic bronchitis. A COPD exacerbation is simply an acute worsening of the symptoms of COPD, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, mucus production, or coughing.

Depending on the kind of COPD a person has , these symptoms may be slightly different.

Patients with chronic bronchitis generally have more mucus production and cough, whereas people with emphysema have more shortness of breath, although either type of COPD can cause any number of these symptoms.

A COPD exacerbation may be caused by an infection , but it may also be caused by non-infectious causes such as fumes, irritants, or smoke.

The treatment for an acute COPD exacerbation is often steroids, inhalers, and antibiotics .

If you have chronic bronchitis or COPD and experience worsening of your symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. They will be able to determine the correct treatment for you.

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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
  • Influenza

How Are Bronchitis And Pneumonia Diagnosed

How To Tell If You Have Pneumonia Or Not

When diagnosing bronchitis or pneumonia, I first ask my patients about their symptoms and perform a physical exam, including listening to their lungs with a stethoscope. The more information I have, the sooner I can give an accurate diagnosis. Additional tests are usually not needed to diagnose acute bronchitis, however some testing that may be used to diagnose chronic bronchitis include:

  • Chest x-ray: A chest x-ray can help rule out other diagnoses, like pneumonia.
  • Sputum culture: Youll give a sample of phlegm, which will then be analyzed to look for specific germs.
  • Pulmonary function testing : This test measures the volume and airflow of air in your lungs. Youll blow into a device called a spirometer which can determine how your lungs are functioning.
  • Pulse oximetry: A clip attached to your finger is used to assess the level of oxygen in your blood.
  • High resolution computed tomography : An HRCT is a type of CT scan that takes high-resolution images of your lungs.

To diagnose pneumonia, your doctor will ask you questions to try and determine whether you may have been exposed to viruses, bacteria, or fungi. These will include questions about your work environment, recent travel, or exposure to others who might be ill.

Your doctor will also perform a physical exam, including listening to your lungs. Some additional tests might be used to confirm your diagnosis, including chest x-ray, sputum culture, pulse oximetry, and a CT scan. Your doctor may also use:

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Additional Recommendations For Pneumococcal Pneumonia

Choose one or both of the following.


A commercial garlic product should provide a daily dose equal to at least 4000 mg of fresh garlic, which translates to at least 10 mg alliin or a total allicin potential of 4000 mcg .

Hydrastis canadensis

Given berberines broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity and immune-enhancing effects, berberine-containing plants are an important consideration. The dosage should be based on berberine content. Because of the wide range of quality in goldenseal preparations, standardized extracts are recommended. The following dosages are intended to be given three times daily:

  • Dried root or as an infusion : 2 to 4 g
  • Tincture : 6 to 12 mL
  • Fluid extract : 2 to 4 mL
  • Solid extract : 250 to 500 mg

What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Bronchitis

At first, you may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms usually become more severe. They can include:

  • Frequent coughing or a cough that produces a lot mucus
  • Wheezing
  • A whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Tightness in your chest

Some people with chronic bronchitis get frequent respiratory infections such as colds and the flu. In severe cases, chronic bronchitis can cause weight loss, weakness in your lower muscles, and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.

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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a serious illness that can take quite a toll on a persons lungs and body. It can take anywhere from a week to several months to fully recover from it, says Dr. Rayman Lee, pulmonologist at Houston Methodist.

The length of time it takes for you to recover from pneumonia is influenced by:

  • Your age
  • The severity of your illness
  • Whether you have other health conditions
  • The type of pneumonia

If youre generally healthy and have only a mild case of pneumonia, your symptoms should begin to improve one to two days after starting treatment.

Most people with mild pneumonia are able to return to their everyday activities in a week, although fatigue and cough can linger for an entire month, says Dr. Lee.

Recovery timelines become more murky for people who have severe pneumonia.

For more serious cases that require hospitalization, were not only focused on clearing the infection, were also focused on preventing or treating complications that can develop including difficulty breathing, fluid buildup in the lungs, sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and lung abscesses, warns Dr. Lee.

Pneumonia and its complications can wreak havoc on a persons lungs and body. And, it can take anywhere from one to six months for a person to recover and regain strength after being hospitalized for pneumonia.

How Do You Know If You Have Bronchitis Or Pneumonia

Do I Have Bronchitis or Just a Cold?

The most important differentiating factors between the two are:

Low or normal oxygen saturation
Rales heard on auscultation Rhonchi and wheeze heard on auscultation
Can occur due to bacteria, viruses, fungi, tuberculosis and aspiration or radiation. Maximum cases are viral. Bacterial, allergic and exposure to toxins and chemicals can cause bronchitis

A chest x-ray is commonly done to differentiate between the two. Chest x-ray of a patient having pneumonia shows a white patchy area of consolidation of affected part of the lung. The above differentiating features between the two clinical conditions will help you understand if you have pneumonia or bronchitis.

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How K Health Can Help

At K Health, we hear from many users who wonder when is the appropriate time to speak to a medical professional. If you think you have symptoms of bronchitis or pneumonia, dont wait to talk to a doctor. Bronchitis can turn into pneumonia if left untreated. And the sooner pneumonia is detected, the more successful the treatment. This is especially important for high-risk groups, including infants, older adults, or individuals with underlying health conditions/compromised immune systems.

Bacteremia And Septic Shock

If bacteria caused your pneumonia, they could get into your blood, especially if you didnt see a doctor for treatment. Its a problem called bacteremia.

Bacteremia can lead to a serious situation known as . Its a reaction to the infection in your blood, and it can cause your blood pressure to drop to a dangerous level.

When your blood pressure is too low, your heart may not be able to pump enough blood to your organs, and they can stop working. Get medical help right away if you notice symptoms like:

Your doctor can test your mucus or the pus in your lungs to look for infection. They may also take an X-ray or a CT scan of your lungs.

Your doctor will likely treat your lung abscesses with antibiotics. They may do a procedure that uses a needle to remove the pus.

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How To Regain Strength After Pneumonia

If you have pneumonia, the first priority is clearing the infection causing it.

This means following your doctors treatment plan very closely. Yes, getting plenty of rest. And, yes, taking every single pill in the bottle of antibiotics your doctor prescribed you if your pneumonia is bacterial in nature.

But, even after your primary symptoms fade away, you may be left feeling lousy, with low energy and/or dealing with a cough that just wont quit. In some cases, you may feel weak for months.

Some More Details About Our Respiratory Tract:

How to tell if I have pneumonia or bronchitis
  • The airways are lined extensively by smooth muscles, goblet cells which are responsible for mucus production and hair-like projections called Cilia. Goblet cells trap particulate matter or micro-organisms and ciliary movements help to push them out of the airways.
  • The respiratory tract is studded with lymph nodes for effective drainage of infective organisms and toxins. The thoracic duct passes from near the trachea.
  • Each part of the airway is rich in blood and nerve supply.
  • The alveoli are mainly responsible for the gaseous exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
  • Pneumocytes within the alveoli are responsible for gaseous exchange and production of surfactant-a fluid which prevents the alveoli from collapsing.
  • The lungs are covered externally by the parietal and visceral pleura. The pleural cavity contains pleural fluid which works as a shock absorber and a transporter of nutrients and fluids from and into the lungs.
  • The lungs are protected therefore direct trauma to the lungs is a very rare occurrence.

To know if you have bronchitis or pneumonia, it is vital to know that both of these clinical entities are affections of the lower respiratory tract. Further details of this article will help you understand if you have pneumonia or bronchitis or if you have both at the same time and how to differentiate between the two.

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