When we were kids, we were not really mindful of sickness transferring from one person to another. It is truly fascinating that now that we are adults, we are more cautious of sick people around us. One of the common illnesses that can be easily transmitted is bronchitis, which leads us to wonder how long are you contagious with bronchitis.

If you are interested and want to keep you and the people around you safe from acquiring bronchitis, then keep on reading. We will give you an idea of the period of your contagiousness and also discuss the different types of bronchitis in detail so that we can determine which one might affect other people. We would also talk about how you can prevent the illness from spreading.

What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis, better known in the medical world as acute bronchitis, is an infection of the respiratory system. It will manifest like a regular cough, colds, or flu, which is the reason why it can be easily transmitted.

The problem with transmission becomes worst when you already have a family since you now have a high risk of making your children or other household members sick. You definitely cannot stay in complete isolation for days as you have other responsibilities at work, school, and home. At the same time, you really do not want to be the cause of other people’s misery.

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Types of Bronchitis

You might have read about the two types of bronchitis several times, so you feel that you no longer need to know about this. The thing is, it is actually essential to take note of the type that you have since only one type can be contagious to other people.

Acute Bronchitis

Viruses and bacteria are the usual cause of acute bronchitis, but it can also occur because of frequent exposure to irritants such as smoke, dust, pollen, fumes, and air pollution.

Chronic Bronchitis

This type of bronchitis is typically the result of untreated acute bronchitis. Nonetheless, it also develops by itself; hence, it is a lung disorder that is long-term. It is also considered as a form of a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


A thing to note about the two types of bronchitis is that different agents or situations cause them. More than that, they also have different ways of reacting to and thriving in your body.

In the case of acute bronchitis, it is something that you get from the environment or transmitted from other people. At times, you will immediately feel sick, or it will take a day or two for you to feel sick.

On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is something that you develop for a long time. Yes, it can be caused by irritants which are the same as the irritants found in acute bronchitis, but it will take a long time for you to experience symptoms. In short, you will not get sick in an instant.

So, Which One is Contagious?

Definitely, acute bronchitis is contagious. Just like what we’ve previously mentioned, in this case, you have a viral or bacterial infection. The pathogens causing it are known for their ability to quickly transfer from one person to another. The transfer of sickness is as simple as shaking hands or even the most natural act of breathing.

Now that you will not commit the error of improperly isolating yourself from friends and family, let us talk about how long are you contagious with bronchitis. Let us also answer some of the common questions related to the contagiousness of acute bronchitis.

How Long are You Contagious with Bronchitis?

Do keep in mind that there are hundreds of viruses and bacteria that are infectious. Even after diagnosing you with acute bronchitis, your doctor will not be able to tell you what specific virus or bacterium that you have.

Therefore, the period of contagiousness is not really an exact science. But do not fret, because as experience provides, you are good to go for at least three days up to a week.

Now, let us go into detail and answer some common questions.

1. When are you most contagious?

You are most contagious on the first day that your symptoms manifest themselves.

2. You have just finished your antibiotics which lasted for a week, but you are still coughing. Are you contagious?

Determine if you have a productive cough, or you are expelling mucus or phlegm. If there is none, you are no longer contagious, but still, you might want to take something for your cough.

3. You have been taking antibiotics for two weeks, and you are on its last leg. Are you still contagious?

Doctors almost always prescribe antibiotics for acute bronchitis to be taken at most for just a week. Thus, your prescription for two weeks may mean that the bacteria can be aggressive. With that said, it is better to add two days to your “quarantine” period just to be sure.

4. You did not take any medicine; instead, you treated your acute bronchitis with home remedies. Are you contagious?

Rule of thumb is to wait for seven days, but seriously, go to the doctor!

5. It is only the third day, and you do not feel any symptoms of acute bronchitis. Are you still contagious?

Yes, no, maybe? The usual range is from three to seven days. To be on the safe side, stick with the maximum period as prevention is always better than cure.

How Can You Prevent the Spread of Bronchitis?

Here are some essential tips on how you can prevent the spread of the causative agent of bronchitis:

  • Wear a mask: If you really have to go out, at least wear a mask and wear it the right way.
  • Manage contact with other people: You really have to sacrifice your social time with this. Do not shake hands, hug, kiss, etc.
  • Be mindful of coughs and sneezes: What were we taught when we were children? Cover your mouth when coughing.
  • Bring alcohol or hand sanitizer: Your hands are the common carriers of the pathogen, so always clean them.
  • Sanitize your environment: Use sprays that are anti-bacterial or at least, lessen the irritants in the room.


You now know if you are contagious or not. If you aren’t, congratulations! If you are, you need to isolate yourself from other people until you’re not infectious.

It is tough to isolate yourself from people especially when you are sick, but do remember that, ultimately, it is worth it; you are a silent hero. Surely, your children or roommates will thank you for it.