Bronchitis and Its Infectious Nature
Bronchitis and Its Infectious Nature
Bronchitis and Its Infectious Nature

Everheard your doctor mention the term bronchitis? This is actually a chronic oracute swelling or soreness of the mucous membranes of the respiratory system’stracheobronchial tree (trachea or windpipe and the bronchial tubes). Under somecircumstances, it may or may not be contagious.


Thereare two kinds of bronchitis, long term or chronic bronchitis and short term oracute bronchitis.


Acutebronchitis is manifested by fever, hypertrophy or increase in the size of themucus secreting tissues, productive cough, sore throat, chills, runny nose,headache, general malaise, and back aches. While chronic bronchitis is adebilitating illness that is caused by persistent coughing with an immenseproduction of phlegm or mucus by the glands of the bronchi and trachea. To beconsidered as chronic bronchitis, coughing with phlegm must persist for no lessthan three months for two successive years.


Commoncausative factors of both kinds of bronchitis are bacterial infection, viral,infection, and environmental pollution (such as cigarette smoking, chemicalfumes, etc).


Indiagnosing a patient for bronchitis, the physician primarily takes a healthhistory and observes for telling signs of the disease. The medical professionalwill auscultate or listen to the patient’s chest through a stethoscope forsounds that may be a sign of inflammation of the lungs. These sounds could bemoist rales, crackling, and wheezing. Wheezing is a sign of narrowing of theair passages, crackling is like the sound of hair being rubbed together, andmoist rales is a bubbling sound that indicates fluid secretion in the bronchialtubes.


Asputum culture may be ordered by the physician in case of suspicious color orsome streaks of blood. This is done to identify what kind of infection or whattype of bacteria or virus is present in the respiratory tracts whichconsequently help the physician in formulating a treatment plan for thepatient. Sputum is collected by instructing the patient to breathe deeply andcough out the phlegm then spit out into a container. Sputum collection is bestdone in the morning before breakfast or any food intake. The sample will thenbe sent to the laboratory and results will come out within three days.


Butsputum collection in patients with chronic bronchitis is sometimes done througha method called bronchoscopy. The patient is administered with a localanesthesia and then a tube is inserted in the respiratory tract to collect thesputum. For further analysis, the physician may also order chest x-rays andblood tests.


Withthese tests and examinations, the physician will not only determine what typeof treatment is best for the patient but will also determine if the bronchitisof the patient is contagious or not. If it is contagious then precautionarymeasures are employed.


Bothacute and chronic bronchitis can be contagious. The cause of its beingcontagious is due to viral or bacterial infections. Common viruses, but are notlimited to this list, that cause bronchitis are influenza virus, adenovirus,and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.


Bronchitiscan be caused by two influenza strains: influenza A and influenza B. However,these two strains can be avoided if the patient takes a yearly shot ofinfluenza virus vaccine which will help the patient to be immunized from thevirus. The adenovirus on the other hand, can be any of the forty-nine mediumsized viruses of the family Adenoviridae, which is pathogenic (disease causing)to man. It does not only cause disease in the respiratory tract but also maycause cystitis, conjunctivitis, and gastro-intestinal infection. Mycplasmapneumoniae is highly contagious among young children and adults.


Withvirus-caused bronchitis antibiotics are quite useless since it can only fightoff bacterial infection. Virus infection is self-limiting, though, and mayclear out within fourteen days providing the bronchitis is uncomplicated.


Ifthere is an underlying bacterial infection, then the physician will likelyprescribe antibiotics to kill off the bacteria and to prevent its furtherwidespread to neighboring organs. Patients should religiously take theantibiotic medication as prescribed to prevent relapses and avoid any resistantbacterial strains to develop.


Preventionfrom acquiring contagious bronchitis is possible. Individuals must have anadequate amount of healthy nutrition and rest to improve their immune systemsespecially during the cold season. Washing hands regularly can also helpprevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Having clean surroundings can alsoavoid bacterial or viral caused bronchitis. For more visit