Frisco Doctor

Respiratory Illness: Bronchitis and Pneumonia Frisco, TX

It is true that bronchitis and pneumonia, as well as various other respiratory illnesses, present similar symptoms to one another, but you can tell them apart from each other by understanding the difference in the signs for each, despite how subtle they may be.

It is also important to be able to detect the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia - especially in children - as they often require different treatment. In the event you do not understand the difference, be sure to come in for a visit or get into contact with us so we can help you on your path to a full recovery.

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While prevention is the best way to treat bronchitis and pneumonia, as well as every other infection for that matter, it is often unavoidable and can develop regardless of our efforts to prevent it from happening. Subsequently, when and if bronchitis or pneumonia presents itself, you can feel confident about the proper action to take by adequately educating yourself on the illnesses.

If you or your child’s symptoms of respiratory illness begin to worsen or become a cause for concern for any reason, be sure to visit our urgent care facility to ensure a speedy recovery back to full health.

Facts from the American Thoracic Society and Lung Institute
  • More than 10 million Americans suffered from bronchitis in 2011.
  • Women develop bronchitis twice as much as men.
  • 70 percent of people who suffer from bronchitis are over the age of 45.
  • Many people with chronic bronchitis develop emphysema.
  • Pneumonia is the world’s leading cause of death in children under the age of five, accounting for 15% of all deaths of children under the age of five.
  • Pneumonia in the U.S. is less fatal, but it is still a huge problem.
  • Vaccines are available for some but not many of the common causes of pneumonia.
  • The elderly have a harder time fighting off pneumonia.
Questions to Ask Your Urgent Care Provider
  • How severe is my respiratory illness?
  • My fever has been rather high with my respiratory illness. Is it normal to have such a high fever with a respiratory illness?
  • What activities should I quit doing to keep others from getting my respiratory illness?
  • Are there any over-the-counter cold and flu products that are safe for me to take?
  • How long will it take for me to recover from my respiratory illness?
  • Are there any medications I can take to reduce my symptoms of respiratory illness?
  • What do I need to do if my symptoms do not improve within a week?
  • How do I prevent getting more respiratory illnesses in the future?
  • Is there any specific instruction I need to know about taking antibiotics?
  • Do most patients make a full recovery from a respiratory illness?
  • What are the warning signs of respiratory illness for me to spot the illness sooner if it were to happen again?
  • Is there anything I can do to make it easier to sleep with my respiratory illness?

What is a Respiratory Illness?

Respiratory illness is a condition that develops due to damage and exposure to the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. There are numerous different types of respiratory illness, including both bronchitis and pneumonia. While there are things that can be done to help prevent the onset of respiratory illness, it is often unavoidable and can happen suddenly with few warning signs, especially bronchitis and pneumonia, which are two of the most common respiratory illnesses.

As mentioned, there are several different types of respiratory illnesses. While this page speaks specifically to bronchitis and pneumonia, which are more common than most other forms of respiratory illness, there are numerous different types to keep in mind. Here are several other of the more common respiratory illnesses:

  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer
  • Bronchiectasis

  • Many of the above respiratory illnesses occur due to long-term exposure to smoke or poor air conditions at work or home, although there may not be a clear cause to point to in all cases of respiratory illness.

    Additionally, and as we have mentioned, bronchitis and pneumonia are perhaps the most common and well known respiratory illnesses, and it is essential to know and understand the various symptoms of both to determine whether or not treatment is needed. Without the proper treatment of a more severe case of bronchitis or pneumonia, the condition can worsen and even become life-threatening. However, with prompt care and medical assistance, you can, in most cases, make a full recovery in a rather short amount of time.

    While the best method for dealing with bronchitis, pneumonia and other forms of respiratory illness is to prevent it from occurring altogether, it sometimes happens regardless, which is why it is essential to know precisely how to deal with the symptoms when and if it does occur.

    Bronchitis Symptoms and Treatment Options

    There are two different types of bronchitis to be mindful of, including acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is much less severe than a case of chronic bronchitis, and it often shows less severe symptoms and goes away within the first ten days, although the recovery time may vary depending on several important factors. When several cases of bronchitis begin to occur in close proximity to one another, then it may suggest chronic bronchitis, which is often the result of smoking, although it can be the result of various other factors as well.

    Regardless of whether the bronchitis is acute or chronic, there are a multitude of symptoms that are likely to be the same, including the following symptoms:

  • Severe cough
  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Production of mucus
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fever

  • A mild form of bronchitis often only shows minor symptoms and is tolerable with little to no medical assistance. However, a more serious case of bronchitis can become extremely concerning and require immediate medical attention in order to ensure a full, quick recovery.

    Unfortunately, antibiotics do not usually help with bronchitis since bronchitis is caused by a viral infection and not a bacterial infection. Instead, the typical treatment for bronchitis includes a cough suppressant and pain relief medication. Most importantly, it is crucial to allow your body the proper amount of rest and a steady dose of nutrients for it to effectively fight off the infection.

    In the event the symptoms start to show themselves, it is essential to seek treatment right away. Here at our urgent care facility we can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend the best form of treatment for you to make a quick recovery and get back to living your life pain-free, without suffering from the annoying systems that bronchitis presents.

    Pneumonia Symptoms and Treatment Options

    Much like bronchitis, there are also different types of pneumonia and can be caused by a wide variety of factors. The two main types of pneumonia are bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia is by far the most common form of pneumonia, and it is fairly easy to diagnose and treat as long as medical assistance is administered while it is still in its early stages. The most common form of bacterial pneumonia is what is referred to as streptococcus. Viral pneumonia is the result of a respiratory virus, which most often occurs in young children and elderly adults. In most instances, viral pneumonia is not extremely serious if caught in the early stages.

    Pneumonia shares a lot of the same symptoms as bronchitis, which is why the two are often confused with one another. Here are the more common symptoms of pneumonia:

  • Coughing that produces mucus
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating and chills
  • Fever

  • Bacterial pneumonia is the simplest pneumonia type to treat as it is able to be knocked out, in most cases, by the use of antibiotics, which is not the case with bronchitis. For viral pneumonia, the treatment often includes the use of antiviral medication, which is different than antibiotics. Additionally, be sure to ask about over-the-counter medication as the right medication can help relieve the symptoms during the recovery process. Also, as with any illness, be sure to receive the proper amount of fluids and rest up, avoiding the temptation to return to work or school too soon.

    Like any infection, it is best to try and prevent it from occurring in the first place. To do so, consider getting vaccinated, attempt to quit smoking if you are a smoker and live a healthy lifestyle, which includes washing your hands often and avoiding coughing onto your body.

    When to Visit Urgent Care for a Respiratory Illness

    While it is not uncommon for more mild forms of respiratory illness improve on their own, more severe cases require medical assistance to accurately diagnose the respiratory illness and subsequently administer the proper treatment. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the more concerning signs of respiratory illness that indicate urgent care is needed.

    Since the most prominent sign of both bronchitis and pneumonia is a nasty cough, it is essential to look for signs that a cough is worsening. For instance, be sure to consult with your local urgent care center if your cough lasts for more than a couple weeks, produces blood or dark mucus or prevents you from getting a good night’s rest.

    Additionally, urgent care may be needed if there is a separate underlying medical condition that may have caused you to develop bronchitis, such as lung cancer, asthma or a severe case of the flu. Also, any case of bronchitis, pneumonia or any other respiratory illness in which the symptoms suddenly worsen for no apparent reason should be discussed. For instance, if your case of bronchitis or pneumonia only involved a constant cough and chest discomfort, but the coughing becomes more chronic and a severe fever starts to show up, it is important to come in for a visit to ensure the symptoms are properly managed.

    Lastly, anytime a child begins to show signs and symptoms of a respiratory illness, it is important to seek urgent care as soon as possible, especially if one of the symptoms is a fever. By ensuring your daughter or son receives the prompt attention they need, you can sleep well knowing they are set up to make a quick, full recovery and their symptoms are not going to make their lives utterly miserable in the meantime.

    Consult With Us

    To ensure you receive the proper treatment necessary to make a full, quick recovery from bronchitis or pneumonia, be sure to consult with us if your symptoms become a cause for concern for any reason whatsoever, especially if it is your child experiencing the respiratory illness symptoms.

    At our urgent care facility, we are well equipped with a quality staff and the necessary resources needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis, strong treatment plan and the preventive care required to avoid a future case of respiratory illness. If your symptoms last for more than a week or worsen suddenly without good reason, be sure to consult with us about the next step to take in the process.

    Without the proper treatment for bronchitis and pneumonia, the symptoms can worsen and even become life-threatening in some instances. With the appropriate treatment, however, most make a quick recovery that allows them to get back to doing the things they love in no time.

    In the event you are concerned about you or your child’s respiratory illness symptoms, be sure to consult with us, and we will do all we can to ensure you or your child get the treatment that is needed to recover fully.


    Q. What are the main differences between bronchitis and pneumonia? Which illness is worse?

    A. The main difference between bronchitis and pneumonia is that they affect different areas of the lungs. Bronchitis refers to inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which serve to carry air to and from the lungs. Pneumonia, on the other hand, is a viral or bacterial infection that leads to inflammation that occurs directly in the lungs. Although they are both respiratory illnesses that more often than not require medical attention, pneumonia generally exhibits worse symptoms and can pose a much greater risk to your health. With that said, both bronchitis and pneumonia are fairly easy to treat and generally have a fairly promising prognosis.

    Q. How long does it take to recover from bronchitis and pneumonia?

    A. When given the appropriate medical attention and the treatment is administered correctly, the more severe symptoms of both bronchitis and pneumonia go away between seven to ten days. With that said, there may be specific symptoms that linger for several weeks, including a nagging cough, mucus and fatigue. To ensure a speedy recovery, be sure to receive the proper amount of rest, stay hydrated and follow any medication guidelines provided by your doctor. In the event your symptoms do not improve after ten days, be sure to contact us and let us know so additional treatment procedures can be taken to ensure a safe, full recovery.

    Q. Can bronchitis progress into pneumonia?

    A. Bronchitis can lead to pneumonia if the symptoms are ignored, and proper treatment is not administered promptly. As has been mentioned, bronchitis is the inflammation of the airway passages that provide air to the lungs. Pneumonia is an infection that affects the lungs directly. If proper treatment and medication are not provided to help fight off the infection quickly, it can spread from the bronchial tubes to the lungs, which leads to a case of pneumonia as well as bronchitis. With that said, there is a slim chance that bronchitis leads to pneumonia when medical assistance is provided soon after the symptoms of bronchitis become present.

    Q.Are there different types of pneumonia? If so, which type of pneumonia is the most serious?

    A. There are different types of pneumonia. Pneumonia can be obtained in several different ways, and the type of pneumonia that you have is dependent upon the cause of pneumonia. There are three main types of pneumonia: bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia and mycoplasma pneumonia. The most common type of bacterial pneumonia and all pneumonia, in general, is what is known as Streptococcus pneumonia. Viral pneumonia can be caused by various forms of viruses that can invade the body, including the influenza virus. Lastly, and perhaps the hardest type to diagnose, is mycoplasma pneumonia, which is also referred to as atypical pneumonia. While there is not a certain type of pneumonia that is more concerning than another, all types of pneumonia should be treated with a sense of urgency in order to prevent the symptoms from worsening or becoming chronic.

    Q. Can I get a vaccine to prevent bronchitis or pneumonia?

    A. Some vaccines have been developed to help prevent certain types of pneumonia, although we are still far from creating an all-inclusive vaccine to help avoid severe cases of pneumonia altogether. With that said, a vaccine for pneumonia and bronchitis can be helpful in prevention, especially for individuals who are at higher risk of developing pneumonia or are not in excellent health and will not be able to fight off a case of bronchitis or pneumonia effectively. To determine whether or not a vaccine to prevent bronchitis or pneumonia is right for you, be sure to consult with us or visit us at our urgent care facility.

    Q. How can I keep my kids from getting bronchitis or pneumonia?

    A. Bronchitis and pneumonia is a bacterial or viral infection, which means there are preventive measures you can take to help prevent the infection from invading your lungs or bronchial tubes. First and foremost, be sure to teach your child and help them practice proper hygiene, such as keeping a clean living area and washing their hands with soap and water regularly throughout the day. Also, be sure to have them avoid contact with any sick friends and stay up to date on flu shots as influenza can lead to a case of pneumonia.

    A term used to describe the inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which serve to carry air to and from the lungs. Bronchitis can be either acute or chronic, and the causes for bronchitis vary.
    This term only refers to any inflammation that occurs directly in the lungs. In most cases, pneumonia is caused by either a viral or bacterial infection.
    Respiratory illness
    Refers to any illness that affects either the lower or upper respiratory tract. Bronchitis and pneumonia are both respiratory illnesses that affect the lungs in particular.
    Often confused with bronchitis, bronchiectasis is a condition in which the lungs become damaged. Although they both affect the lungs, bronchitis is a different disease than bronchiectasis.
    Acute bronchitis
    Also referred to as a chest cold, acute bronchitis is a short-term infection that can be treated with medication. Acute bronchitis is not usually as severe as chronic bronchitis.
    Atypical pneumonia
    Atypical pneumonia affects the lower respiratory tract, and it does not usually cause severe symptoms, which makes it more difficult to diagnose than other forms of pneumonia.
    A respiratory illness that is caused by a viral infection that can lead to a case of pneumonia if left untreated. Influenza is most commonly referred to as the flu.
    Walking pneumonia
    A term used to describe a case of pneumonia in which the individual is still able to walk around and go through his daily routine without experiencing severe pneumonia symptoms.
    Chronic bronchitis
    In most cases, chronic bronchitis is much more severe than acute bronchitis as the treatment for it is more challenging. Chronic bronchitis usually results from constant damage to the lungs(i.e., smoking).
    A respiratory illness that is often long-term and progressive. Emphysema refers to damage done to the lung tissue, which generally causes chronic shortness of breath.