If you start feeling sick and develop a deep cough, you may start wondering if you have an upper respiratory illness like bronchitis or pneumonia.

Since both illnesses can produce similar symptoms, it can be hard to tell on your own at home! We can help with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan any day of the week.

If either infection is left untreated, it can turn into a more severe infection that could spread and actually become life threatening. Our AFC Urgent Care TN team explains the difference between these two lung infections below, so read on.

Do Bronchitis and Pneumonia Affect the Same Parts of the Body?

While both infections can impact your lung function, they actually settle into different parts of your upper respiratory system. A bronchitis infection affects your bronchial tubes, while pneumonia settles into your alveoli. Your bronchial tubes help carry the air you breathe in and out of your lungs. When they get infected, they can become irritated or inflamed, which is what causes that deep, barking cough that is a classic sign of bronchitis.

If you end up with pneumonia, your alveoli fill up with fluid. Since your alveoli have the important job of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide into your blood, it can make it hard to breathe normally when your alveoli can’t function the way they need to. A pneumonia infection can make your entire body feel ill, including body aches and extreme fatigue.

Common Bronchitis Symptoms

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

Can Lung Infections Become Dangerous?

They definitely can! While it is important to remember that the majority of bronchitis and pneumonia cases do not become severe or life-threatening, they do have the ability to become dangerous if they are left untreated or unaddressed. A worsening bronchitis infection can actually turn into a case of pneumonia, so it is important to keep an eye on your symptoms and come see us if they aren’t going away or are getting worse.

If you have a bacterial case of pneumonia, antibiotic treatment is crucial to prevent the infection from spreading. If the infection gets into your bloodstream, it can travel to other parts of your body and lead to multi-organ failure or even death.

Warning Signs of Pneumonia

  • 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 one of our AFC Urgent Care TN locations today.