loader

Preventing the Spread of Bronchitis: Key Information and Strategies

Oct 08, 2023

Urgent Care

Preventing the Spread of Bronchitis: Key Information and Strategies

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.

What Is 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.

Types of Bronchitis

Acute Bronchitis

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.

Chronic Bronchitis

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.

Symptoms of Bronchitis

The onset symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Cough

While most of these symptoms subside within 1-2 weeks, your cough may persist for several weeks.

Other symptoms are:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Wheezing
  • Clear or yellowish-green phlegm
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chest pain or discomfort

The most common yet widespread symptom of chronic bronchitis is coughing up mucus that persists for three months or more.

Is Acute Bronchitis Contagious?

As a virus or bacterium causes it, acute bronchitis is contagious and spreads by:

  • Sharing objects or utensils with an infected person
  • Shaking hands or having close contact with them and continue to touch your face
  • The infected person’s respiratory droplets when they sneeze, cough, or talk

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.

How Long Is Acute Bronchitis Contagious?

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.

How to Prevent Spreading Bronchitis?

You can reduce your risk of contracting bronchitis and spreading it to others by:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Using a humidifier, as moist air won’t irritate your lungs and airways.
  • Quit smoking and refraining from secondhand smoke.
  • Not touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Getting the annual flu and pneumonia vaccines.
  • Strengthening your immune system with plenty of sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet.
  • Keeping the high-contact surfaces (doorknobs, stair rails, refrigerator handles, etc.) clean. As viruses can live on most surfaces for up to 2 days, regularly disinfecting commonly touched surfaces is especially important if someone in your family has a cold, bronchitis, or the flu.

When to Seek Medical Help for Bronchitis?

You must get immediate medical intervention upon experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Recurrent cycles of bronchitis
  • A fever above 102 degrees Fahrenheit or a fever that persists for more than five days
  • Breathlessness and wheezing
  • A productive cough that has not improved in 3-4 weeks
  • Coughing up blood in sputum

Get Timely Intervention for Bronchitis at MI Express Urgent Care

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.

Understanding the Influence of STIs on Pregnancy
Understanding the Influence of STIs on Pregnancy
Pregnant Women and Listeria: Everything You Need to Know
Pregnant Women and Listeria: Everything You Need to Know
Sleep Hygiene: Everything You Need to Know About
Sleep Hygiene: Everything You Need to Know About
What Is Stomach Flu and How to Treat It?
What Is Stomach Flu and How to Treat It?
Musculoskeletal Pain: Understanding Its Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Musculoskeletal Pain: Understanding Its Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Call Us Hold Your Spot