Will My Bronchitis Turn into Pneumonia?
As winter drags on, chronic coughing is a common complaint. But you may have questions about your cough. Is it bronchitis or pneumonia? If I have bronchitis, can it turn into pneumonia? When should I see the doctor? It’s questions like these that the board-certified physicians at Medco ER in Plano, TX, have answered. Check out the discussion.
Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia
Upper airway or lung infections can start out as the cough that accompanies a common cold and can leave your defenses down. It can then morph into bronchitis where the bronchioles fill with mucus that is sometimes coughed up. Bronchitis, then, can turn into pneumonia, a more serious virus or bacterial infection. Pneumonia attacks the alveoli in the lungs with inflammation and mucus. It can then build up fluid, increase bacteria in your system or create a lung abscess.1
“Whether your nonstop coughing is bronchitis, pneumonia or something else,” said Medco ER’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan, “You should come in right away and let us take a look. It can quickly deteriorate into a more serious condition if left untreated.”
Symptoms to Watch Out For
Bronchitis can show up with the following symptoms:1
- Unrelenting cough
- Coughing up yellow-green mucus
- Wheezing breath
- Body aches
- Low fever
Pneumonia has these symptoms:1
- Unrelenting cough, often deep in chest
- Coughing up yellow-green mucus
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- Body aches, chest pain
- High fever (up to 105˚F)
- Sweating, chills
The best thing to do to prevent pneumonia or bronchitis is to stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk of becoming sick from a lung infection.
Pneumonia shares bacteria and viruses with other conditions. If you get the flu, measles, whooping cough or pneumococcal (bacterial pneumonia) vaccines, you may decrease your risks of getting pneumonia. Talk to our doctor about getting other vaccines when you get the flu shot each year.
Healthy practices such as frequent hand washing, keeping hands away from face, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and monitoring any chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma are all great preventive measures.2
When to See the Doctor
“Since bronchitis can become pneumonia in some cases, it is important to come see us at Medco ER when you have a cough that just won’t stop,” said Dr. Khan. “A cough that produces mucus, or a wet cough, is especially important to check out. We can do a chest X-ray or rapid results test to help us quickly diagnose your condition and start treatment right away.”
Get Help Fast at Medco ER
If you have a lingering cough with a fever, come to Medco ER. You will be seen quickly and your doctor will carefully diagnose your condition. Our in-house pharmacy will get you started with the right treatment to help you on the road to recovery. We are open 24/7, so you can come in any time, day or night.
Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-747-0370
Bacterial vs. Viral Respiratory Infections
When a common cold or flu spirals out of control, or when a virus morphs into a secondary, bacterial infection, the sinuses, trachea, bronchial tubes or lungs may become infected with a respiratory infection. Most people have experienced a respiratory tract infection in their lifetime, and springtime often creates conditions that are ripe for the outbreak of these kinds of infections. At Medco ER & Urgent Care of Plano, TX, we commonly diagnose and treat seasonal respiratory conditions.
“Pollen can be an irritant that sets off allergies and escalates respiratory conditions,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “We also see a lot of colds and flus this time of year, even with our current focus on social distancing, masks and handwashing. Respiratory infections often develop in the aftermath of colds and flus and need medical intervention.”
What is a respiratory infection?
A respiratory infection occurs when a virus or bacteria takes over the sinuses, throat, airway or lungs. As you may have guessed, a viral respiratory infection is caused by a virus while a bacterial respiratory infection is caused by bacteria. This is usually the result of a secondary infection that takes place after a viral infection.
Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics, but there are some antiviral drugs that can be used to treat viruses if the outbreak is treated within the first 24 hours.
Respiratory infections are classified as upper and lower. Upper respiratory tract infections affect the sinuses, throat, pharynx and larynx. Lower respiratory tract infections affect the trachea, bronchioles and lungs.
Symptoms of a respiratory infection
Different respiratory infections have different symptoms, but most include some of these:
- Fever, chills
- Muscle aches
- Sinus drainage
- Cough – dry or wet
- Shortness of breath
- Painful breathing
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish tinge to skin
Is a respiratory infection contagious?
“Many kinds of respiratory infections are highly contagious,” said Dr. Khan. “An example would be SARS that originated in China and spread rapidly to scan the globe. It is a good idea to treat any kind of respiratory infection as contagious and to try to keep it from spreading from airborne particles or through contact.”
Treatment for respiratory infections
Depending on the severity of the respiratory infection, over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers are often the starting point. If your rapid-results lab at Medco ER determines the infection is bacterial, then an antibiotic may be prescribed. Oxygen supplementation may also be used.
Get help fast at Medco ER & Urgent Care
With the convenience of a freestanding ER and little-to-no wait, Medco ER & Urgent Care offers some of the best medical care for respiratory infections. Our board-certified physicians are experienced in diagnosing and treating a range of respiratory conditions. With our help, you can soon be on the path to breathing easy again.
- Plano location:
3960 Legacy Drive, Plano TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-392-4000