Q&A: Is Pneumonia More Serious Than The Flu?

sick man lying in bedQ: Is pneumonia more serious than the flu? C.S.

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A: Pneumonia is often the more serious illness but it should be noted that some types of flu can also be deadly. Flu is caused by the influenza virus while pneumonia, which can also be caused by a virus, is often brought about by a bacterial infection. The flu virus usually attacks the upper respiratory tract of the body such as the nose, throat and respiratory tubes.

With pneumonia, a person is likely to have severe breathing issues since the illness concentrates primarily on the lungs. Flu can also cause respiratory annoyances but not as much as pneumonia. Pneumonia can be secondary as it can be started by having flu.

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Bacterial pneumonia is often accompanied by chills, high fever, sweating, pleurisy (swelling of the lining of the lungs) and a productive cough with yellow/green mucus. When left untreated, it can become very deadly. Home treatment is typically adequate for flu; some medication is also a good option just to alleviate the symptoms.

The most important thing to remember is that when a certain illness is going on for more than a week, it is best to go to the doctor and get checked. Some would even get check-ups a few days after the onset.

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  • Flu is caused by a virus while pneumonia is usually a bacterial infection.
  • People with flu generally recover after a week or two without any treatment while people with pneumonia typically turn for the worse and will need prompt medical attention.
  • Usually, flu can be home-treated while pneumonia needs to be treated promptly with antibiotics.
  • Pneumonia is more severe than flu.
  • Pneumonia can be secondary to flu.
  • Bacterial pneumonia needs to be treated with antibiotics while flu will often just need rest and treatment to alleviate symptoms.


Dr. Renee WHITE COAT HS Frame head onlyIf you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ‘Ask Dr. Renee’. Follow me on Twitter @AskDrRenee and on my website.