Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia: What’s the Difference?

Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia: What's the Difference?

Bronchitis vs pneumonia: They both have major differences, but many confuse the two due to the various symptoms they have in common, including chills, chest pain and shortness of breath.

If you are experiencing such symptoms and feel like you may have either bronchitis or pneumonia, it can be helpful to know their differences in order to gain an understanding of your potential illness. Also, the treatment methods and prognoses differ for each.


Bronchitis is typically less concerning than pneumonia, although it should be treated properly, as the symptoms of bronchitis can progress if not properly attended to.

Also, keep in mind that acute bronchitis is different than chronic bronchitis, otherwise known as COPD.

Symptoms and causes

As mentioned, the symptoms that bronchitis shares with pneumonia are chills, shortness of breath and chest pain. Other bronchitis symptoms include sore throat, persistent cough and body aches, which are ailments not typically found with pneumonia.

Acute bronchitis is most often caused by a viral infection.

Treatment options

The best treatment method for bronchitis is to treat the infection that is causing the bronchitis. As with any viral infection, the best course of action is to rest and take in lots of healthy nutrients and fluids. Medication can help reduce the symptoms while the body recovers. Antiviral medications are typically unnecessary, as the bronchitis resolves itself in one to three weeks without any medication. 

Bronchitis vs pneumonia: How is it different?

Although bronchitis is not as serious of an illness as pneumonia, it should still be treated with urgency, as the symptoms can begin to worsen if the infection is not taken care of. In most cases, the treatment method does not involve antibiotics, which is something commonly utilized to treat pneumonia.


Pneumonia is typically far more concerning than acute bronchitis, and the more serious cases of pneumonia should be treated as life threatening. Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs, which typically causes a painful cough in individuals who suffer from it.

Symptoms and causes

Aside from the symptoms that pneumonia shares in common with bronchitis — chills, shortness of breath and chest pain — those who suffer from pneumonia may also experience a fever, productive cough and extreme fatigue.

Pneumonia is usually bacterial, which means it can be treated with antibiotics.

Treatment options

First and foremost, rest, rest and more rest is the best way to recover from pneumonia. Pneumonia is a serious illness, and it will take time and patience in order to fully recover. Be sure to limit strenuous activity until the sickness has passed. Also, as previously mentioned, antibiotics can help treat pneumonia.

Bronchitis vs. pneumonia: How is it different?

Pneumonia can be a far more painful illness and utilizes a different treatment process and typically takes much longer to recover from than bronchitis. With antibiotics and rest, however, pneumonia is a treatable illness.

You might be wondering:

Request an appointment here: or call MedOne Urgent Care at St. Augustine at (904) 436-1553 for an appointment in our St. Augustine office.

Recent Posts

Kids&#    ; Sports Physical FAQs

Kids' Sports Physical FAQs

A sports physical is important for both kids and adults to ensure that they are in optimal health for whatever sport they are playing. Kids' sports physicals are treated a bit differently than an adult's would be, but ultimately, the goal is still the same. Children who are considering playing a sport or are gearing…

Urgent Care Versus The Emergency Room

Urgent Care Versus The Emergency Room

You probably have an urgent care facility near you, but do you know when you should go to this clinic? You may first think of going to your family doctor for illnesses. However, if your doctor is unavailable, urgent care clinics can diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions for you and your family…