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Is Bronchitis Contagious?

January 07, 2016  |  Difficulty: Easy

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Bronchitis Facts

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes – the lower respiratory tract leading to both lungs. There are two types of bronchitis – acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is a temporary condition which starts rapidly, sometimes it comes in the aftermath of a cold or flu. In acute bronchitis, coughing usually lasts between 10 to 20 days. Chronic bronchitis is defined as a mucus-producing cough that lasts for at least three months in two consecutive years. About one in 20 people in North America suffer from chronic bronchitis. Women are more at risk than men.

Is Bronchitis Contagious?

Acute bronchitis happens most often during the winter. It often starts because of another illness, such as a cold or the flu. Bronchitis is most often caused by an infection. The infection is most often caused by a type of germ called a virus. The infection can spread through droplets containing the virus when someone coughs or sneezes. People who have bronchitis should stay away from others as much as possible; the same is recommended for people who have a cold or flu. Covering the mouth when coughing is a must to prevent germs from spreading.


Above all you should avoid the spread of germs. Try to avoid people who have a cold or the flu. If you are sick, stay away from others as much as possible. Wash your hands often with soap and water, and during the day when outside, use germ-killing gel to clean your hands when there is no water available. When diagnosed with acute bronchitis, one needs to be made sure that they are somewhat isolated from others.

Bronchitis Treatment

In acute bronchitis, coughing usually lasts between 10 to 20 days. For acute bronchitis there is no need for prescribing antibiotics since nine out of 10 cases are caused by viruses, not by bacteria. Generally, antibiotics are needed to relieve the symptoms. You should drink a lot of liquids and it is optional to use expectorant to help loosen mucus so that it can more easily be coughed up. Drinking herbal tea may help breathing. Avoid stress and air pollution as well as any irritants that may cause further breathing problems.

There is no cure for chronic bronchitis. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and preventing complications. Quitting smoking and avoiding other airborne irritants is a must.

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