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Is Bronchitis Contagious?

Lung, Bronchitis
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A disease is an abnormal condition or a disorder of a function or structure that affects part or an entire organism. A contagious disease is a type of disease that’s caused by organisms and can be transferred from one individual to another whereas a non-contagious disease is one that’s not due to the disease-causing organisms like Down syndrome and hemophilia. Is bronchitis contagious? This is a question that has remained unanswered because of the different behavior of the two types of bronchitis.

What is bronchitis?

Bronchitis refers to a respiratory disease in which the mucus membrane, found in the lungs’ bronchial passage, becomes inflamed. As the inflamed membrane swells and then grows thicker, it shuts off or narrows the tiny airways in one’s lungs, resulting in coughing which might be accompanied by breathlessness and phlegm.

Is Bronchitis really contagious or not?

There’s no single answer to this question. Bronchitis can be termed as both contagious and non-contagious. This depends upon the causes of the given type of bronchitis.

Infectious bronchitis (hose caused by bacterial infections or viral infections) is contagious. These infections usually result in acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis on the other hand is a very different disease and it’s non-contagious.

Based on the duration of the disease, bronchitis is divided into acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.

Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is refers to acute respiratory tract infections. In most cases, an acute bronchitis is normally caused by viral infections (rhinovirus, influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus). Acute bronchitis is normally considered contagious provided the symptoms are present.

Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is quite different from acute bronchitis. This type of bronchitis develops as a result of continued inflammation and irritation of air passages over many years. Prolonged exposure to polluted air and smoking are the major causes of chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis isn’t contagious unless there are superimposed acute exacerbations caused by the infectious agents.

Causes of Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is normally caused by lung infections. Ninety percent of these infections are viral in origin. Repeated attacks of acute bronchitis usually irritate and weaken bronchial airways which can result into chronic bronchitis.

Industrial pollution is also another cause of bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis infection rates are high among grain handlers, coal miners, metal molders and other individuals who are continually exposed to fumes and dust. However, the chief cause of bronchitis is heavy and long-term cigarette smoking. Such type of smoking normally irritates bronchial tubes and then causes the tubes to produce excess mucus. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis are worsened by a high concentration of sulfur dioxide and the other pollutants found in the atmosphere.

How to cure bronchitis

Conventional treatments for acute bronchitis might consist of very simple measures like getting enough time to rest, drinking a lot of fluids, avoiding fumes and smoke and possibly getting prescriptions for a cough syrup or an inhaled bronchodilator.

The other ways of curing bronchitis are:

Antibiotics. Bronchitis normally results from viral infections; therefore antibiotics are not very effective in curing this disease. However, a doctor might prescribe a given antibiotic if he suspects that you actually have a bacterial infection.

Cough medicine. It is best for one not to suppress a cough which brings up mucus. This is because coughing helps in removing irritants from your air passages and lungs. In the event that your cough normally keeps you from sleeping, then you might consider taking cough suppressants at bedtimes.

Other medications. In case you have allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases or asthma, your doctor might recommend using an inhaler and other types of medications to reduce the inflammation and open up the narrowed passages in the lungs.

Bronchodilators. These are normally used to open bronchial tubes and also clear out mucus Mucolytics. Mucolytics are used to loosen or thin mucus in the airways which makes it easier to cough up the sputum Glucocorticoid steroids and Anti-inflammatory medicines. These are normally used for the more persistent symptoms so as to help in decreasing chronic inflammation which may cause damages to the body tissues Oxygen therapy. This therapy helps to improve the intake of oxygen when breathing is difficult.


Therefore, is bronchitis contagious? There can be no definite answer to this question because the two types of bronchitis behave differently. Bacterial infections which lead to acute bronchitis are normally contagious whereas chronic bronchitis is a totally different disorder which is contagious.



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