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Is Bronchitis Contagious?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Piyush Goel 91% (26 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine, FNB-Critical Care Medicine
Pulmonologist, Gurgaon  •  16 years experience
Is Bronchitis Contagious?

If you are having a chronic cough and often pant for breath, it is quite possible that you may be suffering from bronchitis. In addition to this, you may also experience wheezing, fatigue, and pain in the chest. It is triggered when the lining of the airways in the lungs become irritated. To determine, whether or not bronchitis is contagious, it is important to understand what caused the ailment.

  1. Chronic bronchitis: This type of bronchitis happens when the airways get continuously irritated. It may last for months or even years and tend to come back. It is caused by irritants that affect the lungs such as dust, chemicals, smoke, fire, and smoking cigarettes. Even though chronic bronchitis is not considered contagious, it is a serious health issue that requires medical attention.
  2. Acute bronchitis: It generally lasts for about 1 to 3 weeks and stems from cold or flu virus. As these infections are contagious, so is acute bronchitis.

Whether a person having bronchitis can spread the disease depends on the virus that is causing the ailment. In most instances, it is seen that the disease is contagious for a first few weeks of infection. Since there are hundreds of viruses causing bronchitis, it is best to assume that a person is bound to spread the disease when he has symptoms of cold and flu.

What causes transmission of bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis owing to infection is generally transmitted via an airborne droplet containing germs. It is transmitted when someone having infection shakes hand or sneezes or coughs or has any other physical contact. Some virus and bacteria have the power to live outside the body for a prolonged span of time, and therefore, you can get infected by touching any object that is harboring the germs.

It is often seen that acute bronchitis begins as flu and therefore, the best way to prevent it is to get an annual shot of flu. When you come in contact with an infected person, the chances of being affected is high if you have chronic infections or weak immune system. Aged people and young children are most vulnerable to this disease.

How can acute bronchitis be prevented?
Even though acute bronchitis is extremely common and can occur at any time, winter is the most vulnerable season for bronchitis. But there are ways in which you can prevent bronchitis effortlessly. You should avoid close contact and sharing of utensils with an infected person who has flu, cold or bronchitis. You should not touch a used tissue since the virus of bronchitis can easily spread through mucus. Make sure that you get the annual flu shot and wash your hands in warm water.

The disease is very common, and it can make you feel very uncomfortable at times. But there are times when the symptoms subside on their own without any sort of medical attention.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

 

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