Influenza and Pneumonia
It is important to know the differences between a cold, the flu, and pneumonia. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, these common illnesses can be life-threatening, especially to people of a certain age or with chronic health conditions. Rely on Swetech Medical Center for acute care and seasonal immunizations so you can stay healthy all year.
Is It the Flu or Pneumonia?
People commonly mistake the signs of pneumonia as the common cold or the flu, but this misdiagnosis can be dangerous and lead to health complications.
Symptoms of the flu include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
The flu usually comes on suddenly and is accompanied by muscle aches and fatigue. Pneumonia has more upper respiratory symptoms and takes longer to develop. It is a lung infection that is marked by the inflammation of the air sacs in one or both lungs and often develops as a complication from the flu, making it easy to mistake its symptoms for merely an extension of influenza.
Once the lungs are infected, pneumonia symptoms can present in any of the following ways:
- Cough with phlegm
- Chest pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms like bluish skin, a rapid heart rate, blood in the phlegm, or chest pain when coughing or taking deep breaths are especially serious signs of severe pneumonia but the severity and nature of pneumonia symptoms typically vary depending on a person’s age. An elderly person, for example, may have sudden confusion or reduced mental function. A newborn may vomit, have a fever, or difficulty eating. Infants and older adults especially need immediate medical attention at the first sign of pneumonia symptoms.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Flu or Pneumonia
Diagnosis of the flu can be tricky because a person may have the respiratory symptoms of influenza without a fever. You may also be suffering from a different virus that can cause a respiratory illness that is not the flu. To get a definitive flu diagnosis, a rapid flu test is usually done, which includes a swab of the inside of the nose or the back of the throat.
Plenty of rest and fluids are the typical treatment recommendation for the flu, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers for fever modification and body aches. Getting an annual flu shot can help prevent the flu and reduce the severity of its symptoms if the illness is contracted.
To accurately diagnose pneumonia, you will need to undergo a physical examination from your doctor of osteopathy. During this visit, you may also need to undergo a chest x-ray or blood test for further confirmation of the illness.
Antibiotics, cough medicine, and lots of rest are often all that is needed to help pneumonia improve within a few days. However, seniors, infants, and people suffering from chronic illnesses often require hospitalization.
Get a Flu Shot in Clinton Township
At Swetech Medical Center, our doctors of osteopathic medicine are focused on helping our patients stay healthy year-round through consistent care, lifestyle tweaks, appropriate vaccinations, regular checkups, and more. We want you to stay well, be mindful of the behaviors and risks that can cause illness, and encourage your body’s natural tendency toward self-healing.
The winter season can be long and full of ups and downs when it comes to sickness. We will do everything possible to help you stay free of germs and avoid sickness. Contact us today to schedule a flu shot or physical examination in Clinton Township, MI. If you suspect that you have contracted the flu, pneumonia, or other contagious illness, visit our urgent care for immediate medical attention.