Pneumonia is often associated with untreated bronchitis, and though they can both rear their ugly heads at any time during the year, we see more cases of both during the cold weather months, especially among the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. It can sometimes be hard to know if it’s bronchitis and pneumonia.

How to Know if it’s Pneumonia or Bronchitis:

Often times, only a proper diagnoses from a trained provider can distinguish between the two, as acute bronchitis and pneumonia share many of the same symptoms. That being said, there are a few clear distinctions between the 2 that you can be on the lookout for.

Watch this AFC Urgent Care Medical Minute for exactly what to be looking for to be able to tell the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia:

People with acute bronchitis are often 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 bronchitis and pneumonia are contagious, so if you or a loved one have either illness and are around someone with a weakened immune system, or an elderly person, it’s vital to practice good hygiene, and to either wear a mask, stay away from that person or at the very least, wash your hands often and well and do not breathe on them.

Treating bronchitis:

Bronchitis cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a virus. The best way to treat bronchitis is to treat the symptoms- taking over the counter cough medicines or cough syrups usually help stop the cough and wheezing if that is occurring (and not unusual). If the cough is more aggressive, or if there is wheezing, steroids can be prescribed, the most common one being Prednizone.

Usually, treating the symptoms, giving it a few days, and getting a few nights worth of a good nights sleep will cure bronchitis.

Diagnosing and Treating Pneumonia:

Pneumonia is a much more serious condition than bronchitis, and is diagnosed with blood work and/or a chest ex-ray, both of which we can perform here in our Worcester walk in urgent care center.
If the tests are  positive, we can administer a vaccine for pneumonia called the Pneumovax 23 that can be used for people suffering from diabetes, emphysema or COPD.

For more information or if you are suffering from any of these symptoms, come and be seen in our Worcester urgent care center, located at 117 Stafford Street.