Bronchitis is a nasty thing to deal with. It is a localized inflammation of medium and long airways that is very common during the cold months. For that reason, many of us wonder: is bronchitis contagious through kissing?
Before we can answer that, though, we must first learn about the two different kinds of bronchitis: acute or chronic. In that way, we can better understand how it can affect our body and how we live our daily lives.
Acute bronchitis is characterized by the development of a cough or a discomfort tied to the neck, with or without mucus. It usually manifests after a viral infection such as the flu or a cold. A small percentage of bronchitis cases are caused by bacteria.
Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is characterized by a productive cough that lasts at least three months per year and spans over at least two years. It is usually a product of a lesion in the airways caused by exposure to toxic gases or airborne contaminants such as harmful chemicals, cigarettes and tobacco products, and dust.
The Treatment Required for Bronchitis
The treatment prescribed for bronchitis is quite simple. For cases caused by a virus, the symptoms will manifest within a short time-span and will only require proper rest, hydration, and a minimal amount of medication. Increasing the liquid intake is vital in overcoming this disease, especially if the patient exhibits a fever.
Cough medication is also a common prescription in these cases, which helps the patient cope with dry coughs that can damage the throat and the airways. In more serious cases, though, steroids can also be used to reduce inflammation in the airways and chest discomfort.
For chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, the main goal of treatment is to eliminate the harmful elements that caused it in the first place. Quitting smoking (even passive smoking) and giving the immune system a boost will go a long way in treating chronic bronchitis. Cough medicine is also used to reduce the build-up of mucus.
Antibiotics are also useful if the bronchitis is caused by bacteria. Rarer cases will require hospitalization for better monitoring of the disease’s evolution. Smokers will also find that recovery will take a longer time compared to non-smokers.
What Will Happen If Bronchitis Goes Untreated?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD can occur if bronchitis evolves with complications. This causes obstruction in the lung’s airways and brings damage to the bronchial tubes. As the disease progresses, it becomes potentially-lethal too.
The damage caused by COPD is long-lasting. Therefore, immediate actions are required to avoid horrible outcomes.
Pneumonia can also be caused by acute bronchitis. If untreated, the inflammation will worsen, and breathing will become increasingly difficult. Moreover, fever spikes will be more common, and the patient will become weaker and weaker. Getting enough rest will also be a problem, which would result in more a complex treatment.
The list only gets worse from here, with lung cancer and heart attacks being some of the more serious outcomes. It is important to treat bronchitis when it first manifests to avoid such problematic outcomes. Besides, prevention methods are easily-accessible and very efficient, so make sure to be extra-cautious in the colder seasons.
Chronic and acute bronchitis are very similar in symptoms, but the chronic version has an increased risk of complications. For that reason, you would want to take swift measures and seek a clear diagnosis if you think that you suffer from bronchitis.
Knowing What to Do
Diagnosis is the first step if someone suspects that they suffer from bronchitis. The physician will inspect the lungs for the tell-tale signs such as wheezing and pulmonary congestion. These, paired with the flu or a pre-existing cold, will result in a simple diagnosis and recommended treatment.
Diagnosing chronic bronchitis is a bit harder. The physician will conduct a respiratory test through which he or she will check several parameters. These parameters include air intake measured by volume and speed. While the spirometry (the test) will not reveal the final diagnosis, it will be able to tell if the lungs function in a decreased capacity.
To further explore the possibility of chronic bronchitis, the physician can order a pulsometry test. This assessment will allow the specialist to measure the blood oxygen levels in the patient by using a sensor attached to the person’s finger. Likewise, X-ray imagery can also aid the specialist in giving a final diagnosis.
Is Bronchitis Contagious Through Kissing?
The answer to this question depends on the type of bronchitis that a person has. If bronchitis has been contracted through a virus or a bacteria, it means that it will spread. It will most likely spread through the air, saliva, blood, etc. So, is bronchitis contagious through kissing? Most definitely, yes.
In order to prevent contracting this disease, certain measures must be taken. In the cold season, people tend to spend more time indoors, which means that interactions between large groups of individuals will be more and more common. During these times, you should:
- Take the seasonal shots.
- Avoid going to crowded places.
- Keep your personal hygiene to a high standard.
- Wear a breathing mask.
If already infected, try to get rest as much as possible and avoid the workplace or school. It is important to minimize your exposure to other people to prevent spreading the disease further or even contracting some other disease as your immune system is weakened during this time.
While kissing is nice, it is best to stay healthy and safe and keep your distance from people suffering from bronchitis or any other contagious disease. If by any chance you find yourself in such a dilemma, it is more important to help a loved one get through these moments without manifesting physical affection.
Thus, exchanging kisses with vitamins and walks in the park as well as naps and rest is the way to go. Any spouse will certainly feel loved at the sight of a warm bowl of chicken soup too.