Bronchitis or Pneumonia: Which Is It?

Pneumonia is in the news, taking some of us by surprise. We tend to think of pneumonia as a cold weather illness, but that’s not necessarily true all the time. Yes, we see it more often in the cold weather, but pneumonia can strike at any time of the year, and is often associated with untreated bronchitis. Often times it can be hard to distinguish between  bronchitis and pneumonia .

Watch this Medical Minute for the distinctions between acute bronchitis and pneumonia. At any time,  if there is confusion, you shouldn’t hesitate to be seen by your doctor or one of our AFC providers, as if left untreated, pneumonia can become quite serious.

Bronchitis or pneumonia: Which is it?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell and only a proper diagnoses from a trained provider can distinguish between the two, as acute bronchitis and pneumonia share many of the same symptoms. Often times people with acute bronchitis can be at risk for contracting pneumonia, a much more serious condition, especially for the elderly, for people with compromised immune systems, and for those undergoing chemotherapy.  Both are contagious, so if you or a loved one are suffering with either condition are around someone with a weak immune system, or an elderly person, it is important to practice good hygiene, and to either wear a mask, stay away or at the very least wash your hands often and well.

Treating bronchitis:

Bronchitis is a virus, and so cannot be treated with antibiotics. The best way to treat bronchitis is to help stop the cough and wheezing if that is occuring. Often times, over the counter cough syrups can do the trick,  or if the cough is more aggressive, or if there is wheezing,  the patient can be treated with a steroid. Prednizone is a popular one.

After that, a few nights worth of a good nights sleep usually helps cure bronchitis.

Diagnosing and Treating Pneumonia:

As stated earlier, pneumonia is a much more serious condition than bronchitis, and can be diagnosed with blood work and or a chest ex-ray, both of which we can perform either at our walk in urgent care centers.
If positive, there is a vaccine for pneumonia called the Pneumovax 23 that can be used for people suffering from diabetes, emphysema or COPD.

Watch our AFC Medical Minute for more information or if you are suffering from any of these symptoms, come and be seen at either of our urgent care centers at 2 Main Street or 100 Mill Plain Road in Danbury, CT.

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