Presently, we are at the peak of the flu season, and there have been a lot of reports of hospitalization’s and deaths related to such. The high number of cases is related to the fact that it is a contagious disease, so people around individuals with flu are advised to protect themselves by using masks or staying in another room. Since bronchitis also has flu-like symptoms, it is vital to answer the questions, “Is bronchitis contagious?” “Can you get bronchitis through contact with other persons, or is it a genetic disease that is past on from generation to generation?”
There are a lot of questions you can ask about the disease, and there are so many concerns that parents may have. In order to have a clear answer, you must first understand what is bronchitis, how people get the disease and the risk factors. This article will seek to explore all these topics and answer some of the pressing questions you have about it. It is an essential read because you will realize that bronchitis can lead to some complications which can be fatal.
What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis got its name because of the area of the body that is primarily affected. It is a condition that occurs when there are inflammation and swelling of the surface of your bronchial airways. The bronchial airway is made up of tubes called bronchi that allow for the passage of air between your nose, mouth, and lungs. As per its main types, there are two. Acute bronchitis is usually short-term inflammation and lasts a couple of days and up to a month, whereas chronic bronchitis refers to long-term inflammation of the bronchi.
When you have bronchitis, your ability to breathe is decreased, and one of the reasons for this will be your body’s inability to clear mucus from your air passage. Another reason is, as your body attempts to defend itself from the irritants or germs that are causing your bronchitis, the tubes in your air passage will swell, and they will produce more mucus. The combination of the swollen air passage and increased mucus means that you have smaller openings for air flow.
When we talk about the symptoms, that will vary from person to person, and before they start, you may feel as if you have the flu. Nonetheless, the illness is usually associated with a persistent cough, chest pain and wheezing, fever and the frequent discharge of mucus. To diagnose your bronchitis, your doctor may perform a physical examination together with a chest x-ray.
How and Why Do People Get Bronchitis?
The development of bronchitis is related to many factors that is why correct diagnosis is important. The most common way to acquire it is by virus or bacteria. Acute bronchitis, for instance, may usually follow a cold, flu or viral infection. Sometimes, anything that can potentially irritate the bronchial tubes increases your risk of developing bronchitis. The environment you live in can significantly increase your risk as well, for instance, smoking cigarettes and long-term exposure to other potential irritants.
Individuals who have a difficult time fighting off the flu or have ongoing diseases can easily develop bronchitis. Older persons and babies will usually fall into these categories. The quality of the air you inhale on a daily basis can also cause you to develop bronchitis. Hence, if you are a resident of a city that is polluted due to industrial activity, it is likely that there will be a point in your life that you will develop bronchitis or some other respiratory disease. Genetics can also cause a person to develop bronchitis.
Is Bronchitis Contagious?
Whether or not bronchitis is contagious will depend on the type of bronchitis that the person has. The flu or a viral infection usually cause acute bronchitis. These things are typically and usually contagious. So, if you have been diagnosed with acute bronchitis, you should exercise the same precautions that you would when you have a cold to prevent the spread of germs. These include washing your hands regularly, covering your mouth when coughing, and covering your nose when sneezing. You should also disinfect any areas that you may have contaminated.
When you have chronic bronchitis, your airways are repeatedly irritated. It will usually last for months at a time, and it usually affects you each year. Chronic bronchitis is not contagious as it is usually caused by environmental factors such as dust, smoke, and chemicals. Despite it being non-contagious, it does not mean that you should not exercise the same precautions that you would apply if you have flu to protect others from coming into contact with droplets from your nose, mouth or eyes.
Untreated bronchitis can also become contagious as it usually develops into pneumonia, which we all know is fatal and can easily be transmitted from one person to the other. If someone suffering from asthma or chronic bronchitis develops acute bronchitis, this type of bronchitis is unlikely to be contagious as it is most likely a result of a complication related to their preexisting condition.
As we can note from the above facts, we can say that the answer to the question “Is bronchitis contagious?” will be both a “Yes.” and a “No.”
First, bronchitis can be contagious depending on the type of bronchitis you have. If the bronchitis is acute, then it is most likely to be contagious as it would have been a by-product of a cold or flu. Hence, to reduce your risk of catching viruses that can cause bronchitis, you should avoid coming into direct contact with persons who suffer from respiratory illnesses.
Second, the contagiousness of bronchitis is dependent on how you acquired the illness. If it is merely a secondary illness due to existing respiratory conditions that are not contagious like asthma, then, you need not worry about getting infected through contact. Nonetheless, you must always be watchful of the symptoms of bronchitis and seek medical attention since failure to manage it can lead to serious conditions. Likewise, it is always best to protect yourself when someone you know is afflicted with the illness.