Sunday, October 1, 2023

What Is The Difference Between The Flu And Pneumonia

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Causes And Risk Factors Of Cold And Flu

What are the differences between the flu and pneumonia?

The flu is caused by influenza viruses, but many distinct viruses can cause a cold.

Certain populations are more susceptible to getting a cold or the flu, including the very young, older adults, and people with a compromised immune system.

Factors that can increase your risk of becoming infected include:

Are You Coughing Frequently And Forcefully

Coughing is a symptom of a cold, the flu, pneumonia, and COVID-19. So, how can you tell whether its flu or pneumonia vs. COVID-19? Colds, flu, and pneumonia all tend to cause a productive cough with phlegm. COVID-19 causes a dry, unproductive cough. Pneumonia as a secondary infection from COVID-19 sometimes presents with rapid, shallow breathing, fast heartbeat, and dizziness.

What Is The Difference Between The Flu And Pneumonia

Dr. Ordway discusses the difference between the flu and pneumonia. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

The flu and pneumonia are both serious illnesses, and the flu can be a common cause of pneumonia. However, both sicknesses affect the body differently, according to the American Lung Association .

According to the ALA, differences between the flu and pneumonia include:

  • Flu A virus that is highly contagious, the flu becomes most severe in the winter.
  • Pneumonia – This serious infection or inflammation of the lungs causes the air sacs to fill with pus or liquid, which blocks oxygen from getting to the bloodstream.

There are vaccinations that can prevent some types of the flu and pneumonia.

For more information about how the flu and pneumonia are different, talk with your physician.

Learn more:

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When To See Your Provider

As you can see, the flu and pneumonia are actually verydifferent illnesses. However, both can lead to major complications if leftuntreated.

The flu can be treated with antiviral medication if you seeyour provider within one to two days of the onset of symptoms. If you wait toolong to get an antiviral medicine, you can still treat the symptoms of the fluwith OTC pain relievers.

If you develop pneumonia symptoms, see your provider rightaway. You may need an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis, and you may also need anantibiotic if the infection in your lungs is bacterial. We mentioned earlierthat pneumonia can be a complication of the flu. This and other possiblecomplications are why it’s crucial to monitor your flu symptoms and alert yourprovider if any changes develop.

Getting your flu shot can prevent the flu altogether orgreatly reduce your symptoms and prevent serious developments like pneumonia.The flu shot is available at our four Knoxville Summit Express Clinics. Visitus between 8 am and 8 pm seven days a week. For additional information, visit

What’s The Connection Between Coronavirus And Pneumonia

Cold Versus Flu

Infection with SARS-CoV-2 begins when respiratory droplets containing the virus enter your body through your upper respiratory tract. As the virus multiplies, the infection can progress to your lungs and can further spread the infection. During this time, the chances of developing pneumonia become high and thus can lead to COVID-19 pneumonia.

Now, the question comes – how does this actually happen? Well, the oxygen you breathe into your lungs crosses into your bloodstream inside the alveoli, the small air sacs which are present in your lungs. However, infection with SARS-CoV-2 can damage the alveoli and surrounding tissues.

Further, as your immune system fights the virus, inflammation can cause fluid and dead cells to build up in your lungs. These factors interfere with the transfer of oxygen, leading to symptoms like severe coughing and extreme shortness of breath.

According to the studies, people infected with COVID-19 pneumonia can also go on to develop other illnesses such as acute respiratory distress syndrome . Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a progressive type of respiratory failure that occurs when the air sacs in the lungs fill up with fluid. This can make it the person hard to breathe and thus leads to breathlessness.

At times, such patients are also put under ventilation for life support.

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Is It Bronchitis Or Pneumonia

Acute bronchitis and pneumonia are often confused because they cause such similar symptoms. A cough that lasts for weeks or even longer are hallmarks of both illnesses.

However, there are key differences between these infections that you need to know about. If you have ever been diagnosed with either one or know someone who has, you’ll want to know how they differ.

How Quickly Did Your Symptoms Show Up

Its very common for flu symptomsfever, muscle aches, stuffy nose, sore throat, arrive so suddenly that its possible to pinpoint the exact moment all your misery began, says Kimberly Brown, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine doctor in Memphis.

Pneumonia, in contrast, typically has a less dramatic entry, with symptoms ramping up over several days, says Dr. Lovell.

RELATED: Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia: How to Tell the Difference

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Is It The Flu

Common signs of the flu include fever, cough, congestion, body aches and chills.

Sometimes younger children will have vomiting or diarrhea,but typically its more of a respiratory condition, Dr. Sniderman says.Call the doctor right away if your child is not eating or drinking, noturinating, or is acting much more tired or irritable than usual, she advises.

Its especially important to call the doctor when you suspect flu if your child has an underlying medical condition such as asthma or diabetes. Children who have these conditions are at higher risk of developing complications.

Dr. Sniderman recommends getting a flu shot for any child older than 6 months to help head off serious illness.

The best way to prevent getting the flu is by getting the flu vaccine, she says. Even if you get the flu after you get a flu shot, your symptoms wont be as severe and youll be less likely to experience complications such as pneumonia.

Main Differences Between Flu And Pneumonia

What’s Going Around: Walking Pneumonia
  • The influenza virus causes flu, while pneumonia causes inflammation in the lungs due to germs, bacteria, and viruses.
  • The flu is a more severe illness than a typical cold. While pneumonia is the most severe illness, it should be treated.
  • Flu affects the nose, throat, and lungs, whereas pneumonia affects the lungs severely.
  • Flu sore muscles in your legs, arms, body, whereas in pneumonia, pain in the chest severely.
  • Symptoms of Flu are Nausea and headache, loss of appetite, high fever, chills, sweat, whereas symptoms of pneumonia are coughing with mucus, disorientation, extreme fatigue.
  • Read Also: How To Tell If It’s A Cold Or Flu

    Flu Pneumonia Strep Covid

    When symptoms arise, seek care from the physician-led team at MD Now. We can quickly test and diagnose symptoms including seasonal flu, pneumonia, strep, and COVID-19 and provide the best treatment. Our 55+ state-of-the-art clinics accept walk-ins 365 days a year.

    To find the clinic nearest you, click here.

    Inclusion Criteria And Definitions

    The study was approved by local Ethics Commitees and Hospital Puerto Montt reference number 2009/5251). Immunocompetent patients aged > 16 yrs and with confirmed influenza virus infection and community-acquired pneumonia were included in the analysis. Immunocompetence was defined as the absence of neutropenia, solid organ or stem cell transplantation, HIV infection and any immunosuppressive treatment, including oral steroid treatment at daily dosages of > 15 mg.

    Community-acquired pneumonia was diagnosed in the presence of a new infiltrate on chest radiography together with symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection as well as the absence of alternative diagnoses at follow-up. Pneumonia was classified as the reason for hospitalisation in the absence of other evident reasons, e.g. decompensated comorbidity. Bacterial pneumonia cases were excluded. Death was attributed to pneumonia clinically in the absence of other lethal complications.

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    Improving Respiratory Health And Treating Copd

    COPD cant be cured. Instead, treatment aims to reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and prolong survival. COPD flare-ups occur, on average, 1.3 times per year. As the disease progresses, flare-ups may become more frequent.

    A number of lifestyle changes can aid in COPD management. These include:

    • Maintaining a healthy body weight by eating a well-balanced diet.
    • Quitting smoking.
    • Avoiding allergens and toxic fumes. People exposed to fumes at work should talk to their doctors about ways to reduce their risk.
    • Staying inside when the air quality is poor. Pollution is a major trigger for people with COPD.
    • Promptly treating respiratory infections.
    • Getting regular exercise as tolerated. Taking part in pulmonary rehabilitation can be a good way to start an exercise routine.

    Activities such as walking, yoga, and Tai-chi can strengthen the heart and lungs. These improve the bodys ability to use oxygen and can help with breathing techniques, making it easier to breathe.

    Medical treatments that can slow the progress of COPD or reduce symptoms include:

    Severe COPD symptoms may require hospitalization and may not improve with home medications.

    Comparison Of Patient Characteristics

    Pneumonia Symptoms: How to Know the Difference Between ...

    Out of the 127 patients enrolled in the study, 52 were hospitalised for seasonal influenza and 75 for novel H1N1 influenza out of 100 patients admitted with confirmed H1N1). All patients had radiologically confirmed pneumonia. This was the cause of hospitalisation in 96.2% versus 77.3% for seasonal influenza and novel H1N1 influenza, respectively, whereas the remainders were hospitalised essentially because of unstable comorbidity .

    The main clinical characteristics are given in . Chronic heart failure, structural lung disease, neurological disorders and alcoholism were more frequent in patients with seasonal influenza and asthma than in those with novel H1N1. The latter presented more frequently with fever and tachycardia. Significant differences also related to the inflammatory response, with more novel H1N1 patients having leukocyte counts < 10,000 cells·L1 or leukopenia . The most obvious differences were present on chest radiography. Alveolar infiltrates were more frequently present in patients with seasonal influenza , whereas the pattern was more frequently interstitial and mixed in those with novel H1N1 . Pleural effusion occurred in four patients with seasonal influenza compared with none in novel H1N1 patients .

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    Cold Flu Bronchitis And Pneumonia The Difference Explained

    With the colder weather will come a range of winter illnesses the dreaded flu, cold, bronchitis and pneumonia. Are these all just a difference of degree or are they different conditions? The confusion stems from the similarity of symptoms. Although they are mostly respiratory in nature, they are very different based on whether they are caused a virus or bacteria, the organ they attack and the treatment they receive.

    The common cold

    Lets start with the common cold. Called so because it is the most common infectious disease in the world. It is caused by a virus and has 200 known strains. Thats why even if our body develops antibodies to one strain, we could get a cold from another. Thats the reason children get 5-10 colds a year and most adults get only 2-4. And since antibiotics dont kill viruses, no medication is recommended for the common cold, although OTC drugs could help ease some of the symptoms. Colds are very rarely seriously.


    The flu is completely different from the common cold. It is caused by the Influenza A or B virus. It is accompanied by high fever and for vulnerable groups with low immunity a flu can be quite serious and in some cases life-threatening. It is usually accompanied by high temperature. Speak to your GP if youd like to know more about the flu vaccination. The government offers them free for some high-risk groups. However, the flu virus mutates very quickly and the vaccine does not provide protection against all strains.


    What Is The Difference Between A Cold And Flu

    Influenza and the common cold are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by influenza viruses only, whereas the common cold can be caused by a number of different viruses, including rhinoviruses, parainfluenza, and seasonal coronaviruses.Seasonal coronaviruses should not be confused with SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Because flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are typically more intense and begin more abruptly. Colds are usually milder than flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose than people who have flu. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can have serious associated complications.

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    Treatment And Medication Options For Cold And Flu

    There is no cure for either the flu or the common cold. There are over-the-counter options that can ease throat pain and cough, decongest the nose and sinuses, and lessen body aches and headaches.

    RELATED: The Flu: Self-Treat, See a Doctor, or Go to the ER?

    What Is The Difference Between Cold And Flu Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention

    What is pneumonia?

    Influenza, or the flu, and the common cold can be tricky to tell apart. Both are respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, and they share many symptoms.

    Since colds and the flu are caused by viruses, rather than bacteria, antibiotics are not an effective treatment option.

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    How Long Do They Last

    While walking pneumonia is usually milder than pneumonia, it involves a longer recovery period. It can take about six weeks to fully recover from walking pneumonia. However, most people recover from pneumonia in about a week. Bacterial pneumonia usually starts to improve shortly after starting antibiotics, while viral pneumonia usually starts to improve after about three days.

    If you have a weakened immune system or a severe case of pneumonia, the recovery period might be longer.


    While walking pneumonia is milder than pneumonia, it requires a longer recovery period. It can last for up to six weeks, while pneumonia symptoms usually start to improve within a couple of days.

    How Can I Avoid Getting Sick

    You can help prevent pneumonia and other illnesses by:

    • Practicing good hygiene, using hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol, and disinfecting surfaces.
    • Avoiding cigarette smoke.
    • Ensuring youre taking good care of yourself and addressing any underlying conditions.
    • Not touching your face, eyes, or mouth.
    • Wearing a mask in public.
    • Steering clear of anyone who is sick, whether its strep vs. COVID-19.
    • Visiting MD Now for testing and vaccinations.

    Also Check: When Does Flu Vaccine Expire

    Ways To Tell The Difference Between The Flu And Pneumonia

    There’s nothing pleasant about being sickand thats particularly true if you get the flu or pneumonia, which can leave you feeling absolutely miserable. And, since the two debilitating diseases have a similar constellation of symptoms , it can be hard to know if it’s pneumonia or flu.

    Hard, but not impossible. And worth knowing, since it helps determine when you head to the doctor’s office. Get must-know details on how to distinguish between pneumonia and the flu, along with the best way to avoid contracting both.

    RELATED: 8 Signs Your Cough Could Actually Be Pneumonia

    Should You Get A Flu Shot

    3 Ways to Tell the Difference Between the Flu and Pneumonia

    In general, every person with diabetes needs a flu shot each year. Talk with your doctor about having a flu shot. Flu shots do not give 100% protection, but they do make it less likely for you to catch the flu for about six months.

    For extra safety, it’s a good idea for the people you live with or spend a lot of time with to get a flu shot, too. You are less likely to get the flu if the people around you don’t have it.

    The best time to get your flu shot is beginning in September. The shot takes about two weeks to take effect.

    If youre sick , ask if you should wait until you are healthy again before having your flu shot. And don’t get a flu shot if you are allergic to eggs.

    You are advised to continue to take the general precautions of preventing seasonal flu and other communicable illnesses and diseases:

    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash. If you dont have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

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    Comparison Of Pneumonia Severity

    Pneumonia severity at admission as reflected by CRB-65 and PSI score was higher in patients with seasonal influenza. Both older age and more comorbidities played an important role in determining higher severity scores in the group of seasonal influenza. Overall, 79% and 60% of patients with seasonal influenza had scores reflecting higher severity , respectively, compared with 51% and 19% in those with novel H1N1 influenza .

    Low-risk PSI classification was poorly sensitive in patients with novel H1N1, and in those with novel H1N1 and low-risk PSI classification , 13 out of 61 required ICU admission, seven out of 61 mechanical ventilation, and four out of 61 died. The corresponding numbers for those with seasonal influenza were none for ICU admission and mechanical ventilation and one out of 21 for death.

    In contrast, low-risk CRB-65 classification continued to be associated with a low risk of complications or death. In novel H1N1, three patients required ICU admission, none required mechanical ventilation and there were no deaths. In seasonal influenza, no patients required ICU admission or mechanical ventilation and there were no deaths .

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