Bronchitis and pneumonia are two words we hear often but few people know what they really are.
Even fewer people know how are they different?
So here are the essential and easy-to-read facts about bronchitis and pneumonia.
What Exactly are Bronchitis and Pneumonia?
Bronchitis and pneumonia are both lung diseases which cause the lungs to become swollen (also known as inflammed). In bronchitis the swelling is in the lining of the airway passages, known as the bronchi, that lead to the the tiny air sacs in the lungs (called alveoli). In pneumonia it is these air sacs that are affected. So pneumonia is deeper within the lung than bronchitis.
A person with bronchitis or pneumonia will usually recover fully with the right treatment.
What is a Common Symptom?
A common symptom of both bronchitis and pneumonia is coughing (this is often the first thing we think of when we hear either of these words). This is due to extra mucus in the airway passages. In pneumonia there may also be fluid in the tiny air sacs which makes it harder to breathe. So pneumonia is a more serious disease than bronchitis.
Although coughing is a common symptom of bronchitis and pneumonia, coughing may also be caused by other things like asthma. So it’s difficult to work out what is causing a cough without going to a doctor.
What is the Most Common Cause of Bronchitis and Pneumonia?
The most common cause of bronchitis and pneumonia is infection. Bronchitis is especially common, even in healthy people, with a viral infection. This means washing your hands often and not touching your mouth, nose and eyes does not only help prevent you from catching viral infections like colds and flu, it also helps you prevent the bronchitis and pneumonia that can come with a viral infection.
Can Children and Adults Get Bronchitis or Pneumonia?
Yes, even babies can get bronchitis and pneumonia, although bronchitis is more common in both children and adults than pneumonia.
Remember it’s very difficult to work out whether you or your child has bronchitis or pneumonia, even with all the information available on the internet. A doctor needs to listen to your chest and perhaps do a chest xray to work out what is causing your symptoms. So if in doubt make an appointment with your doctor.