Bronchitis is a matter of discussion for every patient and health consultant, is bronchitis contagious? Indeed Bronchitis may or may not be the result of bacterial infection, which makes this question a tough one to deal.
Actually, Bronchitis is a disease that involves irritation and swelling (Inflammation) of the larger airways in the respiratory tract, which may be the result of infection or other causes. In general, People with Bronchitis have trouble breathing in oxygen due to the formation of heavy amounts of phlegm or mucus in the airways so Bronchitis makes you cough a lot, hard to breathe, wheezing, fever, tiredness and chest pain. So, don’t think that every a cough is a sign of a common cold, especially when it is a dry cough, which commonly is bronchitis.
In detail, there are two types of bronchitis, acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is usually contagious while chronic bronchitis is usually not contagious. So, let’s discuss on this topic:
- Acute Bronchitis:
Acute Bronchitis is a short-term inflammation of the surface lining of the bronchial airways and is commonly considered as infectious bronchitis caused by bacterial or viral infections. It can last for a week to three weeks and is usually caused by viruses that cause colds and flu. In general, it is more severe than an average cold but not as serious as pneumonia, so you don’t need to be panic.
- Chronic Bronchitis:
Chronic Bronchitis is a long-term inflammation of the surface lining of the bronchial airways and is commonly not considered as contagious. It is often caused by smoking cigarettes, but can also be due to prolonged exposure to other noxious irritants like dust, chemicals, and smoke from fire or cigarettes. A person with chronic bronchitis often experiences a cough with mucus during most days in a month and is extended consecutively for several years. In general, it is a long-term lung disorder and a form of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and also occurs in other form called emphysema. Although, Chronic Bronchitis isn’t contagious it’s a serious health problem so you need a doctor’s care and advice time to time.
For a short discussion, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) involves two lung conditions called chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Here, emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath due to over-inflation of the alveoli, so people with emphysema have impaired or destroyed lung tissue involved in exchange of gases i.e. Oxygen and Carbon dioxide. So it can be called as an Obstructive lung disease.
Causes of Bronchitis
#Acute Bronchitis Causes
- Lung irritants or infections
- Smoking tobacco
- Bacterial agents like mycoplasma, bordetella, Moraxella, and Streptococcus, Haemophilus, and Chlamydia pneumonia.
#Chronic Bronchitis Causes:
- Cigarette smoking is the main cause.
- Environmental factors like fumes, dust or air pollution
- Acute Bronchitis progress to chronic bronchitis on continuous exposure to infectious agents.
- It can also be caused by cystic fibrosis, asthma, congestive heart failure, immunodeficiency, acquired or congenital dilation of the bronchioles, or familial genetic predisposition to bronchitis.
- Continuous inflammation and irritation of air and lung passage
Transmission of bronchitis
- Microscopic, Airborne droplets when someone speaks, sneezes, or coughs.
- Shaking hands or other types of physical contact with an infected person.
- Touching germ-harboring objects like a doorknob or a subway pole
- Touching eye, nose or mouth.
Symptoms of bronchitis
- A headache
- A runny nose and sore throat
- Mucus (phlegm) ranging from clear to yellowish-green
- Feeling tired
- Low-grade fever
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain or discomfort
Above mention symptoms are general but if you have any of these following symptoms along with any of above mentioned, then you might be infected with bronchitis, so consult with a doctor:
- Fever over 100.4 F (38 C)
- A cough lasts more than three weeks
- Continued wheezing or shortness of breath
- Expelling discolored or bloody mucus from mouth or nose
Continuous progress of infectious bronchitis leads to pneumonia so consult with a doctor as soon as possible before any disaster occurs in your life. Similarly, prolonged acute bronchitis may also convert to chronic bronchitis so caring for your health must be taken.
- The best medicine for treating bronchitis is rest and relaxation.
- Drink plenty of water and herbal trees
- As per doctor consult, cough suppressants or expectorants and pain relievers like acetaminophen can be taken
- Antitussives are also used when a cough interferes with sleep.
- An inhaled beta-agonist or anticholinergic drug is also given for person experiences wheezing.
- Bronchodilators are also used for both chronic and acute bronchitis to expand the inner airways.
- Steroids reduce inflammation
- Other conventional methods like mucolytics, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation with a respiratory therapist.
Note: Some of the doctors even prescribe you antibiotics for acute bronchitis, but it is almost never used since antibiotics do not work on viruses. Despite, it causes difficulty in breathing, and swelling of the throat, tongue, lips, and face.
However, there are also many natural treatments methods you can follow along at home to cure bronchitis:
- Herbal Remedies:
- Lobelia is the most effective herbal expectorant for clearing the lungs.
- Other herbal remedies like ivy, wild cherry bark, South African geranium, and licorice.
- Guaifenesin is an expectorant that helps thin mucous secretions.
- Anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are an expectorant that helps to reduce excess mucus.
- It is an effective antibacterial and antiviral remedy to soothe the throat, reduce inflammation, and build the immune system.
- Use a teaspoon full of honey in your herbal each day to cure bronchitis.
- Homeopathic Remedies
- Homeopathic syrup reduces mucus viscosity and cough severity.
- It is known to be useful for bronchitis-like Bryonia, belladonna, causticum, phosphorus, aconite, Rumex Crispus, spongia Tosta, Mercurius, antimonium tartaricum, sulphur, Carbo vegetabilis, and sticta pulmonaria.
- Breathing Exercise
- A pursed-lip exercise can improve the airflow to your lungs.
- Diaphragmatic breathing can also help improve breathing.
Prevention of bronchitis
Acute bronchitis can be caused at any time during cold weather, so you can follow these tips to improve your health or maintain sound health.
- You can also use homemade products like eucalyptus oil, ginger, gargling salt water, an Epsom salt bath, onions, garlic etc.
- Don’t do any physical contact with infected person
- Don’t use used tissue
- Wash your hands often with warm, soapy water
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Quitting smoking
- Avoid possible lung irritants, including vapors, air pollution, smoke, dust etc.