Doctor insights on:
Viral Vs Bacterial Bronchitis Contagious
How long is someone contagious for when they have the common cold, flu, or bacterial / viral bronchitis?
Contagious periods: The contagious period differs for each type of infection, even among different viruses! there is a range of values based on different infections ranging from common cold to influenza. These vary from 24 hours to up to 2 weeks! you should ask your physician what infection you have and for how long you will be contagious. Common sense dictates that respiratory viruses travel by cough or sneeze. ...Read more
Severity....: Typically, a bacterial bronchitis will give you a higher fever, discolored sputum, malaise, etc. The symptoms with a viral infection tend to be less severe without a fever, clearer sputum, etc. However, there is overlap in symptoms so if you are not sure, you should see your doctor so the infection can be diagnosed and treated. Both can produce a significant and severe cough. ...Read more
You generally don't: 1st, more than 95% of "bronchitis" is viral. Secondly the other 5% probably resolve spontaneously without any therapy. It really does not matter unless you are otherwise chronically ill from congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Bronchitis is just a term we throw around for people who have a new cough, and it is not really that well defined. ...Read more
Severity of sxs : Both viral and bacterial bronchitis have similar symptoms but bacterial bronchitis usually has a higher fever, more congestion, etc but there is considerable overlap. Sometimes a sputum culture can be helpful in indentifying which bacteria are present. If there is only a low grade fever, it is usually viral. ...Read more
Cultures&Microscope: Sputun is examined under a microscope and bacteria can be seen. Cultures are allowed to grow few days and pathogens grow and can be identified. Blood tests can show antibodies to various viruses. Clinical findings can help differentiate in some cases. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Few things...: Symptoms for a viral bronchitis tend to be milder( although not necessarily), it resolves on its own and lasts for a shorter period of time.In patients with other risk factors like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma or COPD, smokers, and the like there is a greater risk of developing a bacterial type of infection due to a weak immune system. Pts with a bacteria tend to have more complications ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Conflict: Is it viral or bacterial? Usually for 48 hours on antibiotics if bacterial. ...Read more
Usually viral: Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, typically the same viruses that cause colds and influenza. The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking cigarettes. Air pollution and dust or toxic gases in the environment or workplace also can contribute to the condition. Antibiotics as a whole are overprescribed in bronchitis, though sometimes it is warranted. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Difficult to answer: There are many different viruses that can cause bronchitis, all with different incubation periods and different time frames for viral shedding. But, if you have active symptoms like fever, nasal congestion, sore throat, etc., you are likely contagious. The associated cough can last longer than the viral infection so if all the other symptoms are gone, you are possibly no longer contagious. ...Read more
Blood isn't best: What is best to diagnose would be a sputum culture and respiratory viral panel if you wanted to isolate the causative agent. A good physical exam and history should be able take care of you in most situations though and help to make sure you don't have pneumonia. Bacteria in the blood is a sign of a more serious infection. ...Read more
Diagnosed w/ non-viral bronchitis. Been on meds for 4 days, now fever came back. Am i contagious again? Why did it come back?
Yes: as aboveGet a more detailed answer ›
Yes: Acute bronchitis is currently considered to be caused mostly by viruses, which are quite contagious. It can be transmitted in the air, by coughing, and by contact with the sick person's hands (if the hands have been coughed on or touched the mouth). The most contagious period is usually early in the illness, and shortly before the illness begins to show symptoms. ...Read more
Depends on type: "walking pneumonia" basically means you are not sick enough to be on bed rest in a hospital getting intravenous meds. Some pneumonias have suggestive patterns on an x-ray that suggest the probable germ, many do not.Some are viral & some bacterial.Some can pass to others easily & others seldom do. Discussion with the source of the diagnosis is the best way to find out how easily it spreads. ...Read more
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