How to Know If It’s Pneumonia or Bronchitis

Confusion exists about deciphering whether you have bronchitis or the much more serious pneumonia. Often times the symptoms are very similar, and there can be a point when the 2 overlap as well.

At our urgent care center in Stamford we see people walking in wondering which they have.

We will help diagnose you, but in the meantime, here are some tips to help you figure out whether you are sick with acute or chronic bronchitis or full blown pneumonia.

Bronchitis is a respiratory disease in which the mucus membrane in the lungs’ bronchial passages becomes inflamed.
As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it narrows or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, resulting in coughing spells that may be accompanied by phlegm and breathlessness. The disease comes in two forms: acute (lasting from one to three weeks) and chronic (lasting at least 3 months of the year for two years in a row.

Also, it should be noted, that folks with asthma may also suffer from asthmatic bronchitis, a fourth condition in the bronchitis family. So, in reality we are deciphering between 3 variations of illnesses, and degrees of concern. The confusion is understandable.

Acute and Chronic Bronchitis Symptoms can include:

  • Hacking and persistant cough that persists for more than 5 days
  • Clear, yellow, white, or green phlegm
  • Absence of fever, although a low grade fever may occasionally be present
  • Chest soreness and/or discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing

If a fever of over 100.4 degrees is present, and there are signs that your general well being is affected, such as loss of appetite and achiness, then it’s possible that pneumonia may be the cause of your symptoms.

Pneumonia Symptoms:

  • Your cough lasts longer than 1 week and is so persistent or severe that it interferes with sleep or daily activities, and lasts more than one day
  • High fever (104.5 or more)
  • Symptoms begin to worsen rather than get better
  • Coughing up blood, or yellowish or rusty-colored phlegm and becomes darker or increases in volume
  • Mucus becomes darker, thicker or increases in volume
  • Shortness of breath
  •  Symptoms of acute bronchitis and have chronic lung, heart or other medical problems, or are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS

The good news is that pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics.

You cannot be too careful when it comes to pneumonia. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, see your doctor or walk into in to AFC Urgent Care Stamford, no appointment needed, 7 days a week from 8am-8pm weekdays, 8am-5pm weekends, or call us at (203) 969-2000




3700 Cahaba Beach Road Birmingham, AL 35242

Our Mission and Values:

Our mission is to provide the best healthcare possible in a kind and caring environment, in an economical manner, while respecting the rights of all of our patients, at times and locations convenient to the patient.

Scroll to Top