Bronchitis and Pneumonia

What are Bronchitis and Pneumonia?

Bronchitis and Pneumonia are two separate infections. They are both lung infections that can make you very sick. You may cough, run a fever, and have a hard time breathing. For most people, Bronchitis and pneumonia can be treated at home. It often clears up in 2 to 3 weeks. But older adults, babies, and people with other diseases can become very ill. They may need to be in the hospital.

What causes bronchitis and pneumonia?

Germs called bacteria or viruses usually cause bronchitis and pneumonia. Fungi can also cause pneumonia (Valley Fever or Tuberculosis).

Bronchitis and Pneumonia usually starts when you breathe the germs into your lungs. You may be more likely to get the disease after having a cold or the flu. These illnesses make it hard for your lungs to fight infection, so it is easier to get pneumonia. Having a long-term, or chronic, disease like asthma, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes also makes you more likely to get pneumonia.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of both bronchitis and pneumonia caused by bacteria usually come on quickly. They may include:

  • You will likely cough up mucus (sputum) from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
  • Fever
  • Fast breathing and feeling short of breath
  • Shaking and “teeth-chattering” chills
  • Chest pain that often feels worse when you cough or breathe
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling very tired or very weak
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • When you have mild symptoms, your doctor may call this “walking pneumonia”

Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms. They may not have a fever. Or they may have a cough but not bring up mucus. The main sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how well they think. Confusion or delirium is common. Or, if they already have a lung disease, that disease may get worse.

Symptoms caused by viruses are the same as those caused by bacteria. But they may come on slowly and often are not as obvious or as bad.

Bronchitis and Pneumonia are diagnosed by being examined by your Health care provider at Accelerated Urgent Care, certain tests may be ordered such as Chest Xray which can be done at our facility.

Treatment will be with antibiotics, and possible breathing treatments, or steroids and cough medications. Your doctor may ask you to come back and get rechecked.

If you can’t breathe or feel very weak and can’t stand, please call 911

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