December 1, 2020

Is it Pneumonia or COVID-19?


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labeled COVID-19 as a respiratory illness. Along with both the flu and pneumonia, winter is presenting an array of serious respiratory ailments.  

COVID-19, in some cases, may spread to the lungs, which may cause pneumonia. This leaves individuals with respiratory disease, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD),  at a greater risk. 

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. The CDC reports that symptoms range from mild to severe and may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The symptoms include: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What is Pneumonia?

According to the CDC, pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. The symptoms may include: 

  • Chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • Chills
  • Cough with or without mucus
  • Fever
  • Low oxygen levels in your blood
  • Shortness of breath

How is COVID-19 pneumonia diagnosed?

A COVID-19 diagnosis test will be performed to detect the presence of viral genetic material. Most tests will involve collecting a sample by swabbing your throat or nose. 

When pneumonia is involved, usually imaging technology will be used to help determine if infection has occurred to your lungs, as well as laboratory tests and blood samples. Ultimately, the doctor will be able to determine what the patient is suffering from. 

How is COVID-19 pneumonia treated? 

Around 80% of people who get COVID-19 will only get mild symptoms. Higher-risk individuals are at a greater chance of developing pneumonia in addition to COVID-19.  If you develop pneumonia with COVID-19, your doctor will focus on managing the complications and prescribe antibiotics. 

For individuals with severe pneumonia, they may need to stay in the hospital to receive IV fluids, monitoring and, if breathing becomes difficult and unmanageable, they may need a ventilator or oxygen support therapy. 

Precautions for COVID-19 and Pneumonia

Continue to follow local state and county COVID-19 guidelines. Avoid contact with people outside of your household as much as possible, wash hands frequently, and avoid public gatherings. 

What to do if you have COVID-19 or Pneumonia Symptoms?

If you experience or are experiencing any of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately. At Orchid Health, we offer both telemedicine and in-person appointments. Our doctors will help diagnose the cause of your symptoms and help create a treatment plan for the future. 


© 2016 Orchid Health Collective
All Rights Reserved
Back to top