Pneumonia vs bronchitis

Pneumonia vs bronchitis

Are you suffering from fever, cough, and shortness of breath? Chances are you might be suffering from one of these two conditions. One is Pneumonia and the other is Bronchitis. But do you know the difference between them? Even though they share some similar symptoms, it doesn’t mean they are the same because their causes, treatments, and risk factors are quite different from each other. So, it is essential to know the difference between them. To talk to a specialist for Infectious disease call us on 1-347-384-5690. 

Keep reading this article to know the difference between them.  

Pneumonia is a condition that affects the air sacs of the lungs where oxygen passes into the blood. It causes inflammation by filling the air sacs in the lungs with pus or fluid. And on the other hand, Bronchitis causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes which carry air into the lungs. The main difference between them is the range of severity. Pneumonia symptoms and risk factors are more severe than bronchitis. Bronchitis is limited to bronchial tubes while pneumonia gets worse over time and affects lung tissues.  

Although the treatment of both diseases is available, chronic bronchitis is not curable; you can only manage its symptoms to make your breathing easier. On the other hand, there is no treatment available for viral pneumonia. Talk to our Doctor of Infectious Diseases if you have any questions…log on to

Differences between bronchitis and pneumonia 


Both are caused by viral and bacterial infections. But pneumonia is also caused by fungal infections too.  

Causes of Bronchitis  

Bronchitis is most acute and only causes inflammation of bronchial tubes but if you develop chronic bronchitis then, it can slowly damage the lungs, which can be life-threatening.  

Viral infection causes most cases of bronchitis. It transfers when you come into contact with an infected person. You can develop a cough or have trouble breathing, such as in the common cold and flu. Bacterial infection also causes bronchitis when you encounter an infected person’s bacteria. You develop breathing problems followed by other symptoms.  

Other causes such as infection, and exposure to chemical or compound substances that can irritate the lungs such as tobacco or cigarette smoke, dust, fumes, vapors, factories pollution, or air pollution can cause bronchitis.  

Causes of Pneumonia 

The cause of pneumonia is similar to bronchitis, but it affects the air sacs of the lungs called alveoli. These air sacs are used to transfer oxygen into the blood from the air when you breathe.  

When they are filled with fluid and mucus due to pneumonia, these sacs can’t expand and contract well. This is the reason that oxygen does not get into the blood.  

Most cases of pneumonia are caused by viral infections. But it is also caused by viral and fungal infections. Pneumonia is common in older people and people who have weak immune systems.  


Symptoms of Bronchitis  

Symptoms depend on the type of bronchitis you have.  

Acute bronchitis symptoms include: 

  • Sore throat 
  • Stuffy nose 
  • fever  
  • Chills  
  • Tiredness 
  • Body aches  
  • fatigue 

Chronic bronchitis symptoms cause persistent cough and get worse with time. These are the symptoms you notice: 

  • Chest discomfort  
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Wheezing 
  • Fatigue 

Symptoms of pneumonia  

Pneumonia symptoms can range from mild to severe. It usually starts with a cough which produces yellow or green phlegm. Other symptoms are: 

  • Fever, which can be high as 105 F (40.5 C) 
  • Fatigue 
  • Cold chills 
  • Chest pain while breathing 
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Confusion 
  • Blue lips (due to lack of oxygen) 
  • Sweating 



While acute bronchitis has no complications, chronic bronchitis can lead to serious problems, including: 

  • Pneumonia 
  • Increased chances of other illnesses due to lack of oxygen in the blood.  
  • Sepsis 
  • Death from heart or lung damage. 


Pneumonia can be mild to life-threatening (when breathing becomes a challenging task to perform) depending on the cause. Kids, teenagers, or old people are more on the risky side. Pneumonia can decrease blood oxygen saturation and damage the organs, causing severe clinical complications such as respiratory failure, shock, sepsis, and lung abscesses that can easily lead to death. 


Treatment of Bronchitis 

Bronchitis treatment depends on its nature (whether you have acute or chronic bronchitis). If you have acute bronchitis symptoms, you can take antibiotics or antiviral medications to improve your symptoms faster.  

Chronic bronchitis treatment needs a different approach by making lifestyle changes like if you smoke, quit smoking, and make changes in your home and workplace environments. As it progresses, treatment starts including things such as: 

  • Oxygen therapy 
  • Mucolytics 
  • Bronchodilators 
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation 

Treatment of pneumonia  

Pneumonia is treated by identifying the source that causes pneumonia. In case of bacterial infection, there are antibiotics and medications available for treatment. In the case of fungal infection, antifungal medication is used. There is no medication available for viral infection. So, doctors use a combination of medicines that works for you.

There are some home treatments that are effective for both bronchitis and pneumonia, including: 

  • Get plenty of sleep.  
  • Drink plenty of fluid to loosen the mucus in the lungs. Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol.  
  • If you have a fever or body aches you can use some over-the-counter medicine to reduce its symptoms.  
  • Turn on the humidifier to loosen the mucus in the lungs. 
  • Ask a doctor for over-the-counter medications to treat your cough for good sleep.  

Both Pneumonia and bronchitis affect your respiratory system. Both have similar symptoms and causes but affect different parts of the lungs. Both are dangerous, so it is important whenever you notice the symptoms you should visit the Specialist for Infectious Diseases to get diagnosed and have prompt treatment to avoid complications. 

Want to know more about the diagnostic tests for pneumonia and bronchitis? At Doral Health and Wellness, we have doctors of Infectious diseases who can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at or contact us at if you have any queries. 


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