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Can Bronchitis Turn Into Pneumonia?

Both bronchitis and pneumonia affect your airways. The symptoms of both infections are such that it is often difficult to tell them apart. Bronchitis is a condition when the tubes that carry air into the lungs are inflamed. On the other hand, pneumonia is an infection that affects one or both the lungs. Basically, Bronchitis affects the bronchial tubes whereas Pneumonia affects the air sacs. If bronchitis is not taken care of for long, the infection can travel from the airways into the lungs which can lead to pneumonia. 

Causes of pneumonia and bronchitis 

Pneumonia:  Pneumonia can be caused by viral infections, bacterial infections and fungal infections. The flu virus, cold virus, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) are among the top cases. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common bacterial type that causes pneumonia. 

Bronchitis:  Acute bronchitis can be caused by a cold or flu virus, a bacterial infection or exposure to substances that irritate the lungs. Chronic bronchitis is caused by long-term exposure to air pollution, dust, and fumes from the environment. Smokers are at risk of developing chronic bronchitis. 

Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia: How to tell apart the two 

As both bronchitis and pneumonia affect lungs, they have some common symptoms. Fever, chills and coughing are some of the common symptoms that the two infections share. 

Here are a few symptoms that are particular to each infection:  


  • Severe coughing with green or yellow mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Feeling of fullness


  • Severe coughing with green or yellow or bloody mucus
  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion (especially experienced by the elderly)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the muscles
  • Weight loss due to loss of appetite

Who are at risk?

Anyone can develop pneumonia following bronchitis. However, infants and the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions and those who smoke and drink are at high risk. These people are at an increased risk of pneumonia as they have weakened immune systems. 

How to prevent Bronchitis from turning into Pneumonia

If you are diagnosed with bronchitis then you can reduce the chances of it turning into pneumonia by treating the condition early. Knowing early symptoms of bronchitis can help you seek treatment. The early symptoms of bronchitis are similar to those of a cold or the flu. You may experience a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, wheezing and mild fever. 

Looking for Ayurvedic medicine for bronchitis?

Made with a potent combination of 14 herbs, Pankajakasthuri Breathe Eazy can be taken to seek long-lasting relief from Asthma, Bronchitis, Wheezing, Eosinophilia attacks, Sinusitis and Rhinitis. It dilates the respiratory tract and boosts our immunity. Pankajakasthuri Breathe Eazy is available as granules, tablets and syrup

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