What is the difference between the flu and pneumonia?

Dr. Ordway discusses the difference between the flu and pneumonia. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


The flu and pneumonia are both serious illnesses, and the flu can be a common cause of pneumonia. However, both sicknesses affect the body differently, according to the American Lung AssociationOff Site Icon (ALA).

According to the ALA, differences between the flu and pneumonia include:

  • Flu – A virus that is highly contagious, the flu becomes most severe in the winter.
  • Pneumonia - This serious infection or inflammation of the lungs causes the air sacs to fill with pus or liquid, which blocks oxygen from getting to the bloodstream.

There are vaccinations that can prevent some types of the flu and pneumonia.

For more information about how the flu and pneumonia are different, talk with your physician.

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