Bronchitis is technically defined as an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which are the tubes that carry air to and from your lungs.
Acute bronchitis is actually really common, and can develop on the heels of a cold or really any other type of respiratory infection.
Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is a more serious condition.
In this post, you’re going to learn not only the differences between these two different conditions, but also 9 ways to prevent them.
Let’s jump into it and find out the truth!
What Is Acute Bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis is a type of bronchitis that develops as the result of some kind of respiratory infection. It can be caused by a cold, for example—and is considered the less dangerous form of bronchitis because it generally goes away within a week or two.
What Is Chronic Bronchitis?
Chronic Bronchitis, unlike acute Bronchitis, is more serious because it develops over time. Symptoms may slowly get better or worse over time—but they’ll never completely go away.
Over time, the inflammation caused by Chronic Bronchitis will tend to cause a ‘sticky mucus’ to build up in the airways.
This can lead to long-term breathing difficulties.
Chronic Bronchitis is actually included within the umbrella definition of COPD.
Your doctor may even directly refer to a Chronic Bronchitis condition as COPD, which stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Now, let’s talk about how you can prevent both acute and chronic bronchitis.
How To Prevent Acute Bronchitis
The best way to prevent a case of acute bronchitis is to keep yourself from developing some kind of airway infection.
Thus, some of the best methods for helping you to prevent an acute Bronchitis infection include basic hygiene steps, such as:
- Washing your hands thoroughly
- Getting your recommended vaccinations, including the flu vaccine
- Avoiding tobacco smoke (including secondhand smoke)
- Covering your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing
Note: Some experts agree that vaping may actually be safer than smoking cigarettes, or even smoking cannabis.
Some people choose to vape instead of smoke to help decrease their chances of developing something like Acute (or even Chronic) Bronchitis.
The science isn’t definite on this—but it is something to look into.
How To Prevent Chronic Bronchitis
The best way to prevent Chronic Bronchitis is not to smoke. If you already smoke, then the best way to help prevent it is to stop smoking.
The second best way is to avoid being around secondhand smoke (in other words, to avoid being around other people who are smoking).
Other steps that you can take to avoid developing Chronic Bronchitis include:
- Attempting to avoid exposure to airborne pollutants (this could mean chemicals, paint, industrial debris, etc.)
- Try to stay away from people who are suffering from respiratory infections, including the cold, the flu, Covid, etc.
- Wash your hands to avoid getting infected with an illness that could cause an upper-respiratory infection
Is Chronic Bronchitis Contagious?
This is a good question.
Since it’s such a dangerous condition to suffer from long-term, and since it can do serious damage to your lungs over time, then it stands to reason that people would wonder if you can catch it from other people.
Here’s the thing:
Chronic Bronchitis can be contagious if it’s caused by a viral or bacterial infection that can be spread to others.
But even in such cases, there isn’t always a 100% chance that the condition will actually turn into full-fledged Chronic Bronchitis.
Chronic Bronchitis is not contagious, however, if it’s caused by some kind of pollutant.
If the condition was caused by inhaling dangerous irritants, air pollution, or smoking, then it won’t be contagious to other people.
The dangerous thing about Chronic Bronchitis is that it can really affect the lungs and your ability to breathe right.
This is why it’s so important to talk to your doctor if you fear that you may be suffering from it or experiencing symptoms.
Hopefully, this post has helped you to understand how to prevent acute and chronic bronchitis.
Of course, the best way to educate yourself and to assess your danger risk is to talk to your medical provider.
They can definitely help you to assess your risk and any symptoms that you may have, and determine if you may indeed be suffering from some type of bronchitis—either acute or chronic.