Television advertisements about cough syrups normally recommend drinking these medications when a person is coughing. But do you know that there are cases of coughing when cough syrups may not be effective as treatment? That is true in the case of pneumonia and bronchitis. They are two conditions that commonly affect the respiratory system which includes the lungs, bronchial tubes, pleural cavity, upper respiratory tract and trachea.
Although bronchitis and pneumonia manifest the same symptoms, they are two entirely different conditions with different risk factors and treatments. Bronchitis is less serious than pneumonia. Certain bronchitis remedies can easily treat the condition, whereas treatment for pneumonia can be difficult depending on certain factors. That is why it is important to know and understand the difference between bronchitis vs pneumonia for early detection and proper treatment.
Bronchitis is an inflammation in the air passage or the bronchial tubes where air is carried to the lungs. The inflammation may be caused by viral or bacterial infection and other irritants such as smoke. In addition, people who suffer from respiratory infections or colds are more prone to developing bronchitis. Pneumonia, on the other hand, is a lung infection leading to buildup of pus or fluids in the air sacs. Causes may include parasites, virus, bacteria and other microorganisms.
Knowing the symptoms of each condition can greatly help identify the condition a person is suffering from. For bronchitis, early symptoms include dry cough which can be painful in the chest, ribs and abdomen. After a few days, the dry cough normally clears and is followed by green or yellowish-gray sputum. The cough could linger for several days or even months, depending on how chronic the condition is. Sometimes, coughing is also associated with chills and moderate fever.
Pneumonia patients also experience dry coughing which may gradually worsen and become a productive cough. Production of sputum is also expected and it is usually greenish or rust colored. In its early stages, pneumonia usually shows flu-like symptoms. As the condition becomes worse, the patient may experience high-grade fever accompanied with chattering teeth and chills. Other symptoms include chest pain, difficulty in breathing, deep breathing, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, nausea or vomiting and palpitation. In severe cases, the color of the skin may also change because of the poor oxygen in the blood.
Correct diagnosis of bronchitis or pneumonia is normally done by examining the sputum. If pneumonia is suspected, a chest x-ray may also be necessary to confirm the findings. Blood tests are normally performed to know the severity of the condition. If bronchitis is suspected, the patient may have to undergo a pulmonary function test which measures how the lungs are working.
Treatment for bronchitis or pneumonia greatly differs depending on what causes the condition, such as if it is bacterial or viral. If bronchitis is caused by bacteria, it is normally treated with antibiotics while if the cause is virus, the treatment is normally just to reduce the inflammation in the bronchial tubes. Bacterial pneumonia is also treated with antibiotics, and antiviral drugs are prescribed when caused by virus.
When dealing with bronchitis or pneumonia, proper identification of symptoms is necessary to know the possible condition of the person. And this initial diagnosis is normally confirmed by various tests conducted by medical professionals. It is only then when appropriate treatment may be employed.