Know The Enemy
Distinguishing the difference: pneumonia, flu and cold
|Key symptoms||While pneumonia may present symptoms similar to the common cold, it is in fact more severe. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, fever with high temperatures inducing shivering or sweating, chest pain, fatigue and a dry or phlegm producing cough.2||Tend to start more suddenly and last longer than those of the common cold and include high temperature, a headache, exhaustion and aches and pains.18 Symptoms tend to be more profound than a common cold.||Sore throat, blocked or runny nose, sneezing and a cough.17|
|What is it?||Caused by an infection from bacteria, viruses or fungi, which irritates the lungs and causes the tiny air sacs in your lungs to become inflamed and swell up with fluid.2||A common viral infection caused by the influenza virus, not caused by the same virus as a cold.18||A mild viral infection of the nose and throat, in which the mucous membrane becomes inflamed.17|
|How long will it last and how can it be prevented?||It may take weeks to feel well again after catching pneumonia.2 Even mild cases of pneumonia can leave you with a cough that persists for two to three weeks after treatment.2 Vaccination can help reduce the risk of pneumococcal pneumonia7, the most common type of pneumonia.2||Generally lasts for around a week, however sufferers may feel tired for much longer.18 Unlike a cold, you can protect yourself against flu with a flu vaccine. 18||A cold usually clears up on its own within a week or two.17 The best way to prevent a cold is to live a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a healthy diet.19|
|Treatment||Mild cases can usually be treated with antibiotics, lots of rest and fluids at home.21 Left untreated, pneumonia can be serious and life threatening.22||As with a cold, if you have flu you can look after yourself at home by having plenty of rest and fluids. For older children (over 16 years) and adults, over the counter cold & flu remedies can be used to relieve symptoms. 20 Sometimes antiviral medication can be used to reduce symptoms and aid recovery.||Unfortunately there is no cure for a cold, it is recommended to rest and drink plenty of fluids.17 For older children (over 16 years) and adults, over the counter cold remedies can be used to relieve symptoms.17|
- National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE clinical guideline 191 – Pneumonia. Issued: December 2014. Available at:http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg191 [Last accessed: November 2016].
- NHS Choices. Pneumonia. Available at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Pneumonia/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Last accessed July 2017.
- British Medical Journal (BMJ). Patient information from the BMJ Group – Pneumonia. Available at: http://bestpractice.bmj.com/best-practice/pdf/patient-summaries/532655.pdf [Last accessed: November 2016]
- Hospital episodes statistics data accessed April 2016. Ages ≥16, ICD-10 codes J12-J18, England only data.
- Office of National Statistics: Leading cause of death, England and Wales. 2013.
- Davydow DS, Hough CL, Levine DA, Langa KM, Iwashyna TJ. Functional Disability, Cognitive Impairment, and Depression Following Hospitalization for Pneumonia. Am J Med 2013;126(7):615-624 e5
- NHS Choices. Pneumococcal infections. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Pneumococcal-infections/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Last accessed: November 2016]
- Public Health England. The Green Book . Chapter 25: Pneumococcal. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pneumococcal-the-green-book-chapter-25. [Last accessed: November 2016]
- Corrales-Medina VF, Alvarez KN, Weissfeld LA et al. Association between hospitalization for pneumonia and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2015; 313(3):264-274
- Office of National Statistics: Deaths: underlying cause, sex and age-group, 2013. Table 5.10: Diseases of the respiratory system, England and Wales. Ages =15, ICD-10 codes J12-J18.
- Miller E, et al. Herd Immunity and serotype replacement 4 years after seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccination in England and Wales: an observational cohort study. Lancet Infect. Dis. 2011;11(10):760-768
- Shrestha S, Foxman B, Weinberger DM, et al. Identifying the interaction between influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia using incidence data. Sci Transl Med. 2013 Jun 26;5(191):191ra84.
- European Respiratory Society (ERS). European Lung White Book – Chapter 18. Avaliable at: http://www.erswhitebook.org/chapters/acute-lower-respiratory-infections/pneumonia/ [Last accessed: November 2016]
- Schranz J. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines: What do we know and what do we need? Procedia in Vaccinology 1. 2009: 189-205
- Hospital episodes statistics data accessed 01/04/2015. Ages =16, ICD-10 codes J12-J18, England only data.
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Pneumococcal Disease: Factsheet for Health Professionals. Available at: http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/pneumococcal_infection/Pages/factsheet-health-professionals.aspx [Last accessed: November 2016]
- NHS Choices. Common cold. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cold-common/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Last accessed: November 2016]
- NHS Choices. Flu. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Flu/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Last accessed: November 2016]
- NHS Choices. Preventing colds and flu. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/coldsandflu/Pages/Preventionandcure.aspx [Last accessed: November 2016]
- NHS Choices. Flu - treatment. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Flu/Pages/Treatment.aspx [Last accessed: November 2016]
- NHS Choices. Pneumococcal infections. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pneumococcal-infections/pages/introduction.aspx [Last accessed: November 2016]
- British Medical Journal (BMJ). Patient information from the BMJ Group- Pneumonia. Available at: http://bestpractice.bmj.com/best-practice/pdf/patient-summaries/532655.pdf [Last accessed: November 2016]
- NHS Choices. Treating Pneumonia. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Pneumonia/Pages/Treatment.aspx Accessed July 2017