Bronchitis, Pneumonia, and the Flu: What’s the Difference?

‘Tis the season.

 No, we’re not talking about spreading holiday cheer for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other winter holidays. We’re talking about the season of spreading nasty germs that can make you sick for weeks. More specifically, the flu, pneumonia, and bronchitis are the common illnesses to watch out for this time of year. Cute girl blowing her noseHere are some things you should know… 

Flu season usually peaks between December and February but can last as late as May. As long as flu viruses are spreading, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine

What most people don’t know, however, is that there is another useful vaccine that can help protect you from a common illness this time of year—the pneumonia vaccine. The good news is that it’s only needed once every five years and can prevent minor illnesses from progressing into stronger attacks on your immune system.

In severe cases of bronchitis and the flu, persisting symptoms can lead to pneumonia.

The flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia can leave you miserable and bed-ridden for days. But how do you know which illness is the cause of your woes? Here’s a list of the key symptoms and warning signs of each condition that mean you should get to your doctor as soon as possible!


  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Watery discharge from the nasal passages
  • High fever: 102°F–106°F
  • Achy joints and muscles
  • Mild to moderate chest discomfort

 Acute bronchitis

  • No fever
  • Chest tightness, shortness of breath, or wheezing
  • Starts with a dry cough and, a few days later, turns into a wet cough bringing up thick clear, yellow, or green mucus from the lungs


  • A cough that produces mucus. The mucus may appear green, yellow, or a rusty, blood-like color.
  • A high fever, usually above 101°F
  • Labored, fast breathing and chest pain
  • Headache
  • Achy muscles
  • Fast heart rate
  • Chills

If you need help affording medications prescribed for bronchitis, pneumonia, the flu or other health issues, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone. 

By WHBlogger 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

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