How to tell the difference between Bronchitis and Pneumonia
Bronchitis and pneumonia both affect the lungs and share some common symptoms, but they are different diseases that require different treatment. Here’s how you can tell the difference.
The less severe of the two, acute bronchitis is caused by inflammation of the bronchi, the branching tubes that deliver air into the lungs. (Chronic bronchitis is a different subject altogether.)
The most common symptoms of bronchitis include:
Coughing with clear, yellow or green sputum (the gunk you cough up)
Runny, stuffy nose occurring before chest congestion begins,
Shortness of breath, usually following a coughing jag,
Discomfort in the center of the chest due to cough,
Although yellow or green sputum is often thought to indicate bacterial infection, don’t be fooled.
Acute bronchitis will most often go away on its own within a week to 10 days, though your mucus-y cough will likely persist for several more weeks.
An inflammation of the lungs, pneumonia has many of the same symptoms as bronchitis, including:
Persistent fever (often high),
Cough, often with yellow or green mucus,
Chills, which sometimes cause shaking,
Shortness of breath,
Sharp chest pain,
Confusion (which occurs primarily in older people),
Though many of the signs may be similar, pneumonia is much more serious than acute bronchitis.