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Difference Between Bronchitis and Flu

stethoscopeBronchitis vs. Flu

Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchus of the lungs. It can be either acute or chronic in nature. It occurs when the trachea, large bronchi and small bronchi are inflamed due to various reasons. Flu is also known as influenza. There are two types of influenza.They are influenza A and influenza B. Flu is caused by the virus called influenza and hence the name. Bronchitis lasts for several days whereas flu lasts for about one or two weeks.

The cause for bronchitis is multi-factorial. It can even be caused by influenza virus, which is then named as flu and it lasts for only a few days. Bronchitis can also be caused by inhaling fumes or dusts in allergic people, upper respiratory tract infection, bacteria like Mycoplasma Pneumoniae, smokers, elderly people and compromised immune status. The causes for flu include infection droplets which can be spread from one person to another while coughing or sneezing, self contact with the eyes, nose and mouth, as well as touching objects with virus on them.

The common symptoms of flu include chills, body aches, fever, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, headache and dizziness. Fever lasts for about 1 week. After regression of these symptoms, respiratory symptoms preclude over. It includes cough (dry cough), sneezing, running nose and sore throat. Rarely, symptoms like loss of appetite, sweating, blocked nose, muscle aches may occur. The symptoms of bronchitis includes blockage of nose, sore throat, cough being most common. The nature of cough is sputum producing cough or may be dry in nature rarely. The other symptoms include common cold and muscle aches. Asthma symptoms like wheezing may also occur. Coughing with pressure can apply force on the muscles on the chest and abdomen. It is even very severe in few cases.

The complications of bronchitis include pneumonia whereas complications of flu include sinus infections, ear infections, and pneumonia (rarely occurs). The treatment of flu includes more fluid consumption, bed rest and medications to relieve the symptoms.

Antibiotics may just reduce the severity of the disease, but not cure it completely. Usage of alcohol and tobacco containing products should be avoided. Aspirin should be avoided as well. The treatment of bronchitis includes cough suppressants and bronchodilators. Bronchodilators help to reduce the inflammation of airways by dilating the airways. Antibiotics are usually not prescribed unless and until it is diagnosed as a bacterial infection.

The other treatment measures include bed rest, consumption of more amount of fluids, avoidance of irritants which cause allergy. If pneumonia occurs, then the patient needs to be hospitalised.

1.Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchus while Flu is a viral infection.
2.Bronchitis can be either acute or chronic while Flu can be either caused by influenza A or influenza B.
3.Bronchitis lasts for shorter duration whereas flu lasts for about one or two weeks.
4.The nature of cough in bronchitis is with sputum production whereas in flu is a dry cough.
5.The complication of bronchitis is pneumonia whereas for flu are sinus infections and ear infections.

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  1. In the first paragraph of your article, Difference Between Bronchitis and Flu, you state,
    “Bronchitis lasts for several days whereas flu lasts for about one or two weeks.” Then in your summary you contradict it by saying, “3.Bronchitis lasts for over a longer duration whereas flu lasts for about one or two weeks only.” Which is the true statement? Can you fix this?

  2. Why no aspirin as bronchitis treatment??? 2 Aspirin brought my fever down to 99° after it had shot up to 102° in the course of 3.5 hours.. I am 62 and had flu shot 2 weeks ago. I smoke & have an episode of bronchitis every year about this time. Please no anti-smoking message as I’ve smoked for 45 years.
    Native Lifelong Houstonian.

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