What Makes Viral Bronchitis Contagious?
As is the case with most viral infections, in the majority of cases viral bronchitis is indeed contagious. This condition is caused by a virus from family Orthomyxoviridae, the viruses that also cause common cold and the flu (influenza). Bronchitis may occur more frequently if you are smoking or if you work/reside within an environment with polluted air. In essence, bronchitis is described as an inflammation of bronchi - passageway tubes in the respiratory tract that allow air to get in and out of the lungs. Bronchitis often follows a systematic condition like the flu, when the virus becomes settled in the respiratory tract. This condition is contagious because as the patient breathes, tiny mucus and liquid particles containing traces of the virus will become released into the air upon exhale, making it possible for another person to become infected simply by breathing.
When and How Long is Viral Bronchitis Contagious?
This condition becomes contagious when the patient starts showing the symptoms of bronchitis - coughing that often brings out yellowish or green mucus along with difficulty breathing, wheezing, and sensations of burning, itching, tightness or discomfort in the chest. The patient may also experience slight to moderate fever, chills, body ache, sore throat and other symptoms of a viral infection. Since viral bronchitis is a respiratory tract infection, it may be contracted by air, for example by being in the same room or car with the patient. The contagious state of viral bronchitis is maintained for a period of 1 to 4 days, until the symptoms (especially cough) subside. This type of bronchitis usually does not require any medical assistance to be cured, in most cases the symptoms will gradually improve on their own, provided the patient has enough rest and drinks enough liquid. Several over the counter and herbal drugs may help by increasing the rate at which mucus is released and thus get rid of by coughing, improving the speed of recovery. If the patient stays at home during the recuperation period, it may be a good idea to frequently ventilate the room the patient stays in and to thoroughly wash your hands after interacting with the patient or his/her belongings.