Bronchitis is the inflammation of the airways, which could be acute or chronic. While chronic bronchitis is not contagious, acute bronchitis is often communicable, affecting around 85%-95% of healthy adults. If not treated on time, acute bronchitis can aggravate into chronic bronchitis or pneumonia - a life-threatening condition.
Let us discuss more about bronchitis, its types, its contagious duration, and how to avoid bronchitis.
Bronchitis occurs when a bacterium or virus infects your airways (bronchi and trachea), causing them to swell and produce excess mucus. When your airways are inflamed, you experience a cough for a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
It is caused by a viral infection and eases up on its own in a few weeks without medical intervention. Nevertheless, some people with existing conditions may require medical treatment.
It is often caused by pollutants and irritants and lasts for at least two years, causing you to cough with phlegm. Chronic bronchitis may increase your risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). So, it is good to get tested for COPD to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment.
The onset symptoms of acute bronchitis include:
While most of these symptoms subside within 1-2 weeks, your cough may persist for several weeks.
Other symptoms are:
The most common yet widespread symptom of chronic bronchitis is coughing up mucus that persists for three months or more.
As a virus or bacterium causes it, acute bronchitis is contagious and spreads by:
The virus or a bacterium that spreads from the above means can enter your body through your nose, eyes, mouth, or a cut/wound in the skin.
The bronchitis symptoms usually take 2 to 6 days to appear after contact with the virus/bacteria. However, you can spread the infection a few hours before the symptoms show up, and you will remain contagious until those infection symptoms (fever, body aches, and chills) die down. Mostly, people mistake the persistent, dry cough as a symptom of an active infection, but it is caused by the irritation of the bronchial airways.
Typically, healthy individuals are not as vulnerable to bacterial acute bronchitis as seniors, small children, and those with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems. If a healthcare provider determines that antibiotics are necessary, then taking them will reduce your contagiousness within one to two days. Remember, you can have both acute and chronic bronchitis simultaneously. While chronic bronchitis is not contagious, if you have the acute form too, you can still pass it on to others around you.
You can reduce your risk of contracting bronchitis and spreading it to others by:
You must get immediate medical intervention upon experiencing the following symptoms:
MI Express Urgent Care is the trusted facility for those in need of quick and reliable treatment for bronchitis. Our healthcare professionals are dedicated to providing exceptional care and assistance, ensuring optimal health and wellness. Contact us today to experience prompt relief.