Comparing the Flu and Pneumonia

The need for much health information can no longer be overlooked. Nowadays, there are so many illnesses some of which are interlinked in terms of symptoms. Flu and pneumonia are two very common diseases yet identifying them has always been a challenge not only to patients but also to clinicians. During the initial stages of infection, it might not be possible to distinguish flu vs. pneumonia signs. In rare cases, pneumonia can develop as a complication of a flu attack, and the diagnosis might in this case take the flu symptoms as those of pneumonia.

As much as they might be considered to be of one clout, there is a considerable difference between flu vs. pneumonia symptoms after the early phases of both diseases have been passed. Both conditions are caused by a viral infection, although pneumonia can also develop from fungal, bacterial and parasitic infections. After a week or so of infection, the difference in symptoms can start to be noticed. Since pneumonia is typically attached to the lung system, the effects of this infection revolve around shortness of breath, coughs and related symptoms. As for flu, the attack is on the nasal and bronchial areas hence its symptoms and such symptoms should disappear within one week.

To better understand the flu vs. pneumonia demarcation, it is important to look at the respective respiratory symptoms and their severity. Even in its serious form when the cough is productive and dry, flu cannot match the intensity of the pneumonia cough. Pneumonia cough is accompanied by lung pain, and unlike in flu, these coughs are consistent. If the patient is elderly, you might not know about the lungs pain. However, if you notice pronounced difficulty in breathing and blueness in the lips, then it is not a flu attack.

Relying on fever to solve the flu vs. pneumonia overlap may not work, considering that bacterial pneumonia patients have this symptom and it is a common feature for flu victims. Even in other forms of pneumonia, fever may also show albeit in lower grades.

The seriousness of pneumonia is greatly determined by the attacking microorganism. While bacterial pneumonia is generally manageable even through simple home remedies, viral pneumonia does not respond to any medication. For any pneumonia case, it is critical to seek the doctor’s diagnosis and treatment to avoid fatal consequences.

Flu has not found a medical treatment at the moment but the symptoms can be relieved through home remedies. However, it is recommended to avoid symptoms suppressants whose effect is to hamper the disease defense mechanism of the body. If possible, one can go for an influenza vaccine to counter future infections.

The flu vs. pneumonia question may become significantly complicated if the flu condition becomes more pronounced. In its most serious form, the disease can become unmanageable and appear as a pneumonia attack. If the situation has worsened or there is no positive change after seven days, the doctor’s advice should be sought.

Generally, flu and pneumonia share symptoms such as fever, coughing and sweating. The difference is that in pneumonia these typical symptoms may be accompanied by bloody sputum, chest pain and labored breathing. Considering that there are instances of secondary bacterial pneumonia and influenza pneumonia, it is advisable to seek medical attention when any of the symptoms is noticed.

The flu vs. pneumonia symptoms are usually similar especially if this pneumonia has been caused by a virus.  Only an advanced medical test such as a chest x-ray can bring out the difference in some cases. After the diagnosis has been done, the doctor will give the best treatment for the condition, whether pneumonia or influenza.

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