It might be hard to know whether you have a common cold or viral bronchitis if you are sick only for a couple of days. However, when your cough proceeds long after other signs have come to an end, you may have viral bronchitis.
People generally ask if viral bronchitis is contagious and should they stay home if they have bronchitis?
Viral bronchitis is caused because of many reasons like viral infection, exposure to air pollution, smoking, etc. All types of bronchitis are not contagious though. Only in some cases, bronchitis is contagious.
So, let us first comprehend about the types of bronchitis to know properly, how contagious bronchitis can be.
There are two kinds of bronchitis:
- Acute bronchitis: This is considered to be infectious bronchitis as it is caused by viral infections or bacterial infection. Henceforth, called viral bronchitis and yes, it is definitely contagious. It is an acute respiratory infection. It sometimes proceeds with cold or flu. Though it is more serious than cold, but not as serious as pneumonia. As long as symptoms are there viral bronchitis will be contagious.
- Chronic Bronchitis: It differs very much from acute (viral) bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is caused due to smoking and air pollution. Inflammation and swelling of airway routes lead to this condition. It is a long term lung disease. An individual suffering from chronic bronchitis often has a shortness of breath and a long-term cough with mucus and sputum creation. Though it lasts for three months in a year, the best part is that chronic bronchitis is not contagious.
Thus, bronchitis can be both, contagious and noncontagious relying on the type of bronchitis the patient have.
How Long is Viral Bronchitis Contagious?
As acute bronchitis is caused by a virus, Flu virus (influenza) spreads mostly from one person to another by drops created when a sick individual sneezes, coughs or talks. You will basically be contagious for minimum three days, and maximum seven days.
Although viral bronchitis may get treated, a cough remains for a longer time. Henceforth, bronchitis also remains infectious as long as the symptoms continue. Even though the bodily fluid called mucus clears and the signs start decreasing after treatment, bronchitis will be contagious because of an existing cough. Thus, it is crucial to take quick treatment if the symptoms prevail. Since acute bronchitis is caused by a virus, antibiotic treatment is not prescribed by the doctor. It is best to take rest and remain at home in case you have viral bronchitis, as you could spread the disease.
Viral bronchitis likewise will be contagious when the people touch something with the infection on it. And afterward, they touch their mouth, nose or eyes with the same infected hands. Older adults and infants are more responsive to viral bronchitis than young people since they have a weaker immune system. Bronchitis in infants is exceptionally common and can become complex too.
Thus, viral bronchitis is contagious until you are encountering cough.
Preventive Measures to Secure Yourself from Viral Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is a normal ailment that can happen to anybody. A lot of people recuperate from bronchitis with no treatment or further difficulties. However, that irritating cough may take a while to leave. In case you or somebody else is suffering from it, then viral bronchitis can be contagious and can attack the healthy person too. To decrease the risk of spreading infections that can cause bronchitis to others follow these general steps:
- Stay away from others who are not suffering from the virus.
- Wash your hands frequently or utilize a hand sanitizer thoroughly after coughing, sneezing or cleaning out your nose.
- Abstain from using the same towel.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- Wear a face cover.
- Get a yearly flu shot.