Is Bronchitis Contagious? | Acute Bronchitis & Chronic Bronchitis

Is bronchitis contagious? It depends. Bronchitis is a respiratory ailment that causes several difficulties, such as a cough that produces mucus and chest pain. So, it is expected that you and many people out there will want to know if the bronchitis is contagious. Read on to find the answer.

When the bronchial tubes (which lead to the lungs) are irritated or infected, you will experience bronchitis symptoms, also known as acute bronchitis.


Bronchitis is a kind of respiratory disorder, which refers to inflammation of the respiratory tract. Just like pneumonia, bronchitis causes difficulty in breathing and an increased number of coughs that produce mucus.

Causes of Bronchitis

Inflammation of the bronchial pipes can result from viruses, bacteria, or irritant particles. A significant risk factor for bronchitis is smoking, but non-smokers can also contract the disease.

Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis can be caused by:

  • Viral infections such as colds and flu
  • The presence of bacteria
  • Air pollution, smoke from tobacco, dust, fumes, fumes, and vapors that irritate the lungs

If you do any of the following, you are at a higher risk of developing acute bronchitis:

  • Inflammation caused by a virus or bacteria
  • Smoking or secondhand smoke inhalation
  • If you suffer from asthma or allergies

Chronic Bronchitis

The lung and airway tissues are repeatedly irritated and damaged in chronic bronchitis. The most common cause of bronchitis is smoking, but not everyone who has it smokes.

Among the other causes are:

  • Environmental contaminants, including dust, fumes, and pollution, for a long time.
  • Genes
  • Repeated bouts of acute bronchitis
  • An illness such as pneumonia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or asthma
  • Pesticide exposure increases the risk.

The risk of both types of disease is higher for those with asthma or allergies. Chronic bronchitis can be prevented by avoiding smoking.

Symptoms of Bronchitis

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slight fever and chills
  • Chest discomfort
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing when sleeping
  • Tiredness during the day
  • Dry throat.

Is Bronchitis Contagious?

The kind of bronchitis you have will determine if it is contagious. For instance, Chronic Bronchitis is not infectious. However, the symptoms last for longer. If you have Chronic bronchitis, you will experience the symptoms for three months, remaining consistent for two years. Chronic bronchitis is a severe lung disease that is a form of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

However, if you have Acute Bronchitis, despite not having a lasting symptom, it is contagious because it generally results from infection by a virus or bacteria.

How Long Are You Contagious If You Have Bronchitis?

In most cases, after you start taking antibiotics to treat bronchitis, you cease to be contagious 24 hours after starting the medication. Antibiotics will not treat viral bronchitis. Depending on how severe your condition is, you could be contagious for at least a few days or even a week.

How is Bronchitis Spread?

In the case of viral and bacterial bronchitis, it spreads through the air, much like colds do, by germs circulating when someone coughs or sneezes. If you are close enough, you can breathe in the germs.

How is Bronchitis Treated?

It is common for bronchitis to go away on its own without any treatment within a few weeks. It is referred to as “acute bronchitis.” In the meantime, drink lots of fluid and rest as much as you can.

There are some cases in which bronchitis symptoms last longer than expected. When symptoms persist over three months, this is known as chronic bronchitis.

As far as chronic bronchitis goes, there is no cure, but several medications can help relieve symptoms. As well as avoiding smoking, it would be best if you also avoided smoke-filled environments.

When Do You Need to See Your Doctor?

  • If your cough shows no sign of improvement after ten days.
  • If your cough is exacerbated by eating.
  • If you have trouble sleeping due to coughing or if your cough keeps you awake at night.
  • If you experience wheezing, chest pain, and fever with no other underlying conditions.
  • If you experience any difficulty breathing.
  • If your fever is above 100.4 F


Bronchitis may not be contagious all the time, but it can still be serious. It can lead to more severe respiratory conditions such as pneumonia. Thus, you must take preventive measures such as washing your hands and avoiding people who are sick.

If you or someone you know has bronchitis, the best thing to do is consult a doctor or schedule an appointment at Post Oak ER.