Bronchitis is basically a medical condition characterized by the inflammation of bronchial airways. Since these are the primary tubes wherein their main purpose is to carry oxygen to and from the lungs, a person suffering from this particular condition tends to cough on a consistent basis. Hence, people who come in contact with sufferers often ask the questions “Is bronchitis infectious?” “How can this particular disease be differentiated from a cold, flu or other such diseases which have the same kind of symptoms?”
Is Bronchitis Infectious: The Modes of Transmission
There are two types of bronchitis which usually affects people all around the globe, and its transmission depends on such.
A rather short-term inflammation of the bronchial tubes, a person suffering from this particular type of bronchitis tends to stay ill from one to three weeks. The typical symptoms of acute bronchitis include shortening of breath along with rapid coughing.
A viral infection normally causes acute bronchitis, and as a result, it is this particular type of bronchitis which is highly infectious. It might also happen due to a bacterial infection, but in more than 90% of the cases, it happens due to the aforementioned reason.
A person suffering from acute bronchitis transmits this disease typically, to a healthy person, via the microscopic air particles. As soon as an infected human being speaks, coughs or sneezes, anyone who is around him or her at that point might get infected.
There are several other ways in which acute bronchitis can be transmitted from one person to the other. For example, when you shake hands with a sufferer, or even if you make physical contact in any other way, you might get infected.
Another thing which makes this type of bronchitis highly contagious is that the viruses, which are the main reasons of acute bronchitis, are quite strong in nature. Even when they’re outside your body, they can live for as much as few days. Meaning, even if an infected person isn’t around at the moment, but he or she came in contact with a particular doorknob a few days ago, you might still get infected after touching that knob before touching your own body with those hands.
In sharp contrast to acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis isn’t normally transferred from one person to the other. The reason behind it is that unlike the former type, which is caused by viruses, the latter happens due to a sustained exposure to the harmful chemicals.
It can also happen due to prolonged smoking but as long as you’re aren’t in close contact with a person suffering from it, there are very few chances that you can catch this disease from an infected person.
Having said that, chronic bronchitis is still a serious disease which should be treated with proper care. A person suffering from this disease might have already done permanent damage to his or her lungs, and in fact, chronic bronchitis is an irreversible medical condition.
This disease cannot be treated permanently, and even though there are all kinds of medications and techniques which are adopted worldwide, all of them are designed to limit the severity of chronic bronchitis.
How to Pick Bronchitis at an Early Stage
Regardless of the type of bronchitis from which you’re suffering from, it isn’t easy to detect this particular disease in the first few days. As already mentioned, bronchitis shares many of the common symptoms of regular flu, including a persistent coughing, which makes it difficult to detect.
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However, if your cough seems to persist for more than one week, it’s time to consult your doctor. In any such scenario, there is a big chance that you might actually be suffering from bronchitis.
Symptoms of Bronchitis
At a usual glance, both come with a wide range of common symptoms. A person suffering from either of these two types can experience trouble in regular breathing and recurrent chest pain along with consistent fever.
However, when it comes to differentiating acute bronchitis from chronic bronchitis, you just have to look at the severity of the disease. If bronchitis seems extremely serious from day one, like a high fever along with severe body chills, there is a significant chance that it is none other than acute bronchitis.
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Since viruses normally cause this disease, antibiotics are helpless in this condition. Even the medicines, which are prescribed by your doctor will work only against the body fever.
However, if bacterial infections cause acute bronchitis, you might want to pay a visit to your doctor at the earnest. The reason behind it is that unlike viruses, bacteria can be cured by antibiotics.
Protecting Yourself from Bronchitis
Even though bronchitis can attack your body at any time around the year, it’s normally the cold weather which is usually associated with it. In order to protect yourself, avoid close contact with a person who is suffering from bronchitis. It is also recommended to avoid sharing utensils, handkerchiefs, and tissue paper with an infected person.
For further precautionary measures, you can get a flu shot every year as it will make your body immune from all kinds of viral infections. Similarly, wash your hands regularly and always use a clean soap for this purpose.
Answering the question “Is bronchitis infectious?” will solely depend on the type of bronchitis that an individual has. Acute bronchitis is definitely infectious since a person can get it from the infected and inanimate objects.
With that in regard, it is highly recommended to stay away from a person who is suffering from bronchitis. It might not be easy especially if that person is your close relative. However, one thing which you can always do is to avoid using same utensils and refrain from sharing the same towels and other such things. Lastly, there is no better way to cure bronchitis than to visit a doctor so if you’re experiencing signs of trouble, go pay a visit to your physician at the earliest.