When Should I Worry About Bronchitis or Pneumonia?

February 15, 2023

When Should I Worry About Bronchitis or Pneumonia?

Any time you have a deep or barking cough when you are sick, it can indicate that you have developed some sort of upper respiratory infection. Bronchitis and pneumonia are both infections that can start with similar symptoms, so it can be hard to tell what you are suffering from on your own.

It is important to remember that most upper respiratory infections stay mild to moderate and never require professional medical attention. People with chronic medical conditions and people who fall into vulnerable categories like the very young and older adults need to watch their symptoms carefully as their infection could become severe.

Our AFC Urgent Care Ballantyne team is here to explain the symptoms associated with bronchitis and pneumonia below, so keep reading.

How Do Bronchitis and Pneumonia Start?

Just like many other infections, bronchitis and pneumonia can come from a variety of sources. Bacteria, viruses, fungi are all common causes of infection. While both infections settle into your upper respiratory system, bronchitis affects your bronchial tubes and pneumonia affects your alveoli. When your bronchial tubes get infected, it irritates them enough to cause a deep, barking cough that is a classic sign of bronchitis.

If you have pneumonia, the infection causes your alveoli to fill up with fluid. Since alveoli have the important task of transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide through your blood, it can make it hard to breathe if your alveoli are having trouble working the way they need to. This can cause a deep cough, and it can also make your entire body feel ill with body aches and extreme fatigue.

Common Respiratory Infection Symptoms

  • Tightness in chest
  • Deep cough with clear or green mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Fever

When Does an Infection Become Dangerous?

Like we said earlier, the majority of infections don’t become dangerous. They are merely a nuisance and can make you feel pretty sick, but you will eventually recover and get back to a normal life.

If your symptoms fail to improve or start to get worse instead of better after a few days, it is important that you visit with your care provider. Bronchitis can sometimes travel to your lungs, which can cause a pneumonia case on top of your bronchitis infection! Certain cases of pneumonia can also be life-threatening if your infection gets into your bloodstream. If you are ever worried about your condition, come see us right away.

Signs of a More Severe Infection

  • High fever that lasts for days
  • Chest pain or trouble breathing
  • Blood in your mucus
  • Fatigue and confusion

Do you have a new cough? Stop by our AFC Urgent Care Ballantyne center today.

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