Difference Between Bronchitis and Cold (With Table)

At the initial stages, when a person is sick, he/she starts feeling or facing certain nausea, fatigue, cold, or cold-like symptoms. They are termed as the inflammatory response of the human immune system towards any external pathogens entering the body. But when these symptoms stay for a bit longer time, they are advised to be examined by a doctor.

Sometimes a disease is not diagnosed at an early stage, but over time, it gets diagnosed. Such is with the common cold it is caused by many reasons, but its long duration may cause bronchitis or is responsible for some other medical problem.

Bronchitis vs Cold

The difference between Bronchitis and Cold is that despite being caused because of same viral infection, bronchitis is experienced when the virus infects the lower part of the respiratory tract, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, when the upper side of the respiratory tract is infected than it is said the individual is experiencing cold.

Bronchitis is a condition when an individual is already suffering from a cold but for a longer duration. During this condition, the bronchi present in the lungs, which are used as a passage for air to pass through, forms mucus. Bronchitis is also categorized into two major sub-conditions, and that is – Acute Bronchitis and Chronic Bronchitis.

Cold is caused by infection, and the individual experiences running nose or stuffy with slight headache and fatigue. It is sometimes also referred to as the common cold because the infection is caused very frequently. It is normal to experience the infection about 3 to 4 times in a single year. The virus causes cold attacks directly on the respiratory tract but the upper side.

Comparison Table Between Bronchitis and Cold

Parameters of ComparisonBronchitisCold
DefinitionInfection is experienced more in the lungs because of the mucus formedInfection is experienced more in the nose and sometimes even in the throat
Symptoms Dry cough, chest congestion, difficulty in breathing, headache, runny nose, sore throat, wheezing, difficulty in sleepingChills, sore throat, runny nose, mild cough, shivering, redness in eyes, fatigue, nasal congestion, appetite loss
CausesOrthomyxoviridae, adenovirus, rhinovirusCoronavirus, rhinovirus
Infection SiteLower partUpper part
Diagnosis Phlegm production and coughSore throat, sneezing, dry cough, redness in eyes
TreatmentAnti-inflammatory medicines, bronchodilators, oxygen therapy, cough medicines, glucocorticoids steroids, and many moreDecongestants, menthol medicines, analgesic, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and many more
DurationMore than 2 weekLimited for 2-3 days or a week

What is Bronchitis? 

Bronchitis is a condition experienced by an individual when their cold is retained for more than two weeks. As in this condition, the below part of the respiratory tract gets infected by coming in contact with different viruses (Orthomyxoviridae, rhinovirus, adenovirus). In the pair, bronchi present in lungs start forming mucus or phlegm layer inside it which somewhat blocks the passage of air, causing difficulty in breathing.

In the condition of bronchitis, a person may experience some of the given symptoms, and they are – Dry cough, chest congestion, difficulty in breathing, headache, runny nose, sore throat, wheezing, difficulty in sleeping.

Bronchitis has been classified in two different divisions based on the severity of the case and is Acute Bronchitis and Chronic Bronchitis. The treatment best known for curing bronchitis is to consume the prescribed medicines, which may include – Anti-inflammatory medicines, bronchodilators, oxygen therapy, cough medicines, glucocorticoids steroids, and others.

What is Cold?

Cold is a condition experienced by an individual because of viral infection. The viral infection in an individual may be caused because of coming in contact with rhinovirus or coronavirus. In this condition, it is quite obvious that the virus infects the respiration tract of the body, and in the cold, the above part is infected by the virus.

The nostrils start forming phlegm which leads to a stuffy nose, or sometimes the person faces the symptom of runny nose, and this causes difficulty in breathing. Some of the common symptoms associated with it are – Chills, sore throat, runny nose, mild cough, shivering, redness in the eyes, fatigue, nasal congestion, appetite loss.

The suggested treatment for cold is taking Decongestants, menthol medicines, analgesic, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and many other medicines.

Main Differences Between Bronchitis and Cold

  1. Bronchitis is a problem experienced by an individual more in the lungs when there is a formation of mucus in bronchi, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the cold is a problem that is experienced in the nose or throat. 
  2. The symptoms related to bronchitis are numerous, but some of them are listed, and they are – Dry cough, chest congestion, difficulty in breathing, headache, runny nose, sore throat, wheezing, difficulty in sleeping, whereas comparatively, on the other side, some of the symptoms associated with cold are – Chills, sore throat, runny nose, mild cough, shivering, redness in eyes, fatigue, nasal congestion, appetite loss.
  3. The main cause of bronchitis in an individual is because of viruses – Orthomyxoviridae, rhinovirus, and adenovirus whereas comparatively, on the other side, the causative agent for the cold is rhinovirus or coronavirus. 
  4. In the case of bronchitis generally, the infection is caused in the respiratory tract but in the lower part but comparing, on the other side, in the case of cold the above part of the track gets affected. 
  5. Bronchitis is generally diagnosed by coughing or the production of phlegm, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the cold is diagnosed by some of its common symptoms like – redness in the eyes, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, etc.
  6. Bronchitis is curable and hence can be treated in many ways, and some of them are – Anti-inflammatory medicines, bronchodilators, oxygen therapy, cough medicines, glucocorticoids steroids, and many others while, on the other side, cold is treated by consuming Decongestants, menthol medicines, analgesic, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and many other medicines.
  7. Bronchitis may last up to more than two weeks, while the duration of cold retains for 2 to 3 days or a week. 

Conclusion

To summarize the above topic, we can conclude it by saying sometimes a major medical condition can be started with a minute of symptoms. Initially, a person suffering from a cold is not worried about any major problem, but if the problem lasts up to more than a week, it is a situation for being concerned.

Bronchitis is such a problem initially. It just starts with the experience of cold, which retains more than a week or two. Along with nostrils, the mucus formation starts in the air passage that is in bronchi which blocks them, and the person faces difficulty in breathing. Although the condition is curable and many anti-inflammatories, bronchodilators, cough medicines, etc., are available.

While in case of cold, it retains for a few days, and the phlegm is formed in the nostrils, which blocks the air passage, and in other words, it is known as a stuffy nose. The condition is cured itself, or in some cases, medicines are advised.

References

  1. https://thorax.bmj.com/content/39/12/912.short
  2. http://www.besjournal.com/fileSWYXYHJKX/journal/article/swyxyhjkx/2015/1/PDF/bes201501008.pdf
  3. https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/10/11/652
  4. https://thorax.bmj.com/content/40/6/422.abstract
x
2D vs 3D