Respiratory Illness – What you should know!

Respiratory Illness
Season Begins
You had a cold and started to get better.
You unexpectedly began to feel worse and
you noticed that you are coughing much
more. When you cough, your chest aches.
You suspect that, this time, you’re really
sick because you have a fever. You may
also have shaking chills. Is this a return of
your cold? It’s not very likely. You may
have pneumonia or bronchitis. Learn to
recognize the symptoms of bronchitis
or pneumonia and when to seek medical
treatment.

Bronchitis Symptoms
Bronchitis can develop after any upper
respiratory infection such as a cold. Your
cold may move into your airways. You may
be developing bronchitis, which is an
infection of the airways leading to your
lungs. This is often caused by viruses, so
antibiotics won’t help. But other
medication may be needed for your
symptoms.
You might also notice symptoms such as a
“productive” cough, which means that as
you cough you bring up mucous/phlegm.
This might be clear, green or yellow, or it
could be streaked with blood. What if
you’re feeling feverish and experiencing
chills? You might also feel fatigued, when
physical effort wears you out. Your chest
is uncomfortable and you may feel
tightness and some chest pain. You may
cough for weeks, and you may wheeze…

Bronchitis Can Lead to Pneumonia

Can bronchitis lead to pneumonia? If you
have not gotten medical attention for a
case of bronchitis, it can lead into
pneumonia. Your body’s immune defenses
are weakened when you are sick, which
makes it more difficult for you to fight off
the bacteria or virus that causes
pneumonia. If you are diabetic or have
weak immunity, or are a smoker
(emphysema), this makes it harder to fight
infections.

Pneumonia Symptoms
Pneumonia isn’t a bad case of bronchitis.
This illness is an infection located inside
one or both of your lungs:
In bacterial pneumonia, patients
usually develop a high fever with possible
shaking chills. You may also have
moderate or severe chest pain when you
cough or draw in a deep breath. The cough
produces thick phlegm that is green,
yellow or rust-colored.
Viral pneumonia’s symptoms are like those
of the flu: You’re feverish and headachy.
You have muscle aches and a dry cough.
You feel weak. What makes viral
pneumonia different from the flu is that,
within 12 to 36 hours of getting sick, you
become short of breath and your cough is
slightly productive. Your temperature may
go up and breathing may become even
more difficult.
Mycoplasma pneumonia or “walking
pneumonia,” doesn’t make you very sick.
Your symptoms develop over a few weeks,
with headache, fever, fatigue and a cough.
See your doctor if your fever is high, if you
have shaking chills, your cough won’t let
you sleep at night, you keep bringing up
phlegm, wheeze or feel chest pain during
coughing or when you take a deep breath.

Pneumonia Differs From Bronchitis
Pneumonia develops in your lungs, while
bronchitis develops in the airways that
lead to your lungs. While both illnesses can
make you feel very sick, pneumonia can
become potentially life-threatening. You
should seek medical care for difficulty
breathing, chest pressure, coughing up lots
of blood, and bluish lips.

Hazel Bluestein, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Premier Immediate Medical Care