Bronchitis is a condition characterized by an inflammation of the main passageways carrying air to the lungs, known as the bronchi. There are mainly two types of bronchitis, differentiated on the basis of the duration of the illness – acute bronchitis (short-lived) and chronic bronchitis (long lasting and/or recurring).
Is Bronchitis Contagious: Acute Bronchitis
The acute form of bronchitis is a respiratory infection that occurs almost 90 percent of the time due to a viral antigen, such as influenza virus, rhinovirus, respiratory syntactical virus, etc. Bacterial antigens rarely cause this form of bronchitis.
Individuals with preexisting lung or heart complications might develop episodes of acute bronchitis even if they come into contact with less virulent strains of infectious agents. However, it is impossible to differentiate less virulent strains from the more potent ones based only on symptoms.
Chronic bronchitis is extremely different from the acute form. This condition develops as a result of repeated inflammation and irritation of the airways over many years. Among the most common causes are prolonged exposure to polluted air and smoking.
Commonly Asked Question: Is Bronchitis Contagious?
Surprisingly, bronchitis can be both, non-contagious and contagious. This actually depends on the cause and type of the illness.
Infectious bronchitis – the type caused by viral or occasionally bacterial infections – is highly contagious as long as symptoms persist. Such infections result in the acute form of bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis, however, is very different in comparison and is non-contagious.
But then again, there’s a catch! Acute exacerbations of Chronic Bronchitis which are caused by superimposed infections in those suffering from chronic bronchitis might be fairly infectious as well.
How Can Bronchitis Spread Be Prevented?
Preventing the spread of chronic bronchitis is essential for protecting healthy individuals and care-givers. Some of the main precautions include:
- Avoiding contact with infected individuals.
- Avoiding use of personal items of infected individuals.
- Vaccination against the common viral strains to prevent an episode of acute bronchitis.
- Covering your mouth while coughing or sneezing to prevent spreading infectious airborne particles to healthy individuals.
- Maintaining personal hygiene, such as washing hands, etc.
- Avoiding exposure to polluted air, especially industrial pollutants and cigarette smoke.