Does that cold seem to have a grip on you that you’re just not able to shake?  You’ve taken a ton of vitamin C, drank a river of orange juice, and you still have that cough and sore throat? Feeling feverish? Hurts to breathe?  As for energy, forget it.  That went out the window a long time ago, right? Maybe you don’t have a cold. Maybe you have pneumonia. Or bronchitis.

But how do you know? Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, and bronchitis, an infection of the airways, have similar symptoms. However, the differences are sufficiently distinct for diagnosis and treatment.

Pneumonia Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms for pneumonia may be mild or severe, affected by various conditions. Both bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia can become life-threatening, especially when coupled with age or overall ill health.

Pneumonia usually comes on quickly with symptoms. The symptoms are cough and irritated throat, fever and chills, aching muscles and fatigue, and fast, shallow breathing. Symptoms may also include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Children generally experience symptoms similar to adults. But in adults over the age of 65, the symptoms exhibited may be milder, or varied, with lower than normal temperature.

Pneumonia may present itself as the flu at first. “Walking pneumonia” is associated with milder symptoms similar to a cold, but lasting longer and is usually diagnosed in young adults.

Bronchitis Signs and Symptoms

Bronchitis symptoms include cough (“wet” or “dry”), mild fever and chills, chest discomfort, and fatigue. The inflammation and narrowing of the air passages from the nose to the lungs causes difficulty in breathing, and often develops after a cold. The cough may last weeks, or even months.

If shortness of breath worsens, your cough produces blood, your fever is persistent and high, or your skin or nails become gray, seek treatment immediately. Complications can quickly become dangerous. Tests will be done to diagnose your illness. After receiving treatment, don’t rush your recovery. Rest, be certain to take the prescribed medications to completion, and drink plenty of hydrating fluids.

Our four Middle Tennessee Physicians Urgent Care locations are open seven days a week to care for you should you experience any summertime illness!

West Nashville –  On Charlotte Pike, in front of the Nashville West Shopping Center

Brentwood –  Off Old Hickory Blvd, near Firebirds and the Well Coffee Shop

Berry Farms – Located off the Goose Creek Bypass in the Berry Farms Town Center, just down from Publix.

Franklin – On the corner of Route 96 & Carothers Parkway in front of Williamson County Medical Center.