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"How long is bronchitis contagious for?"

ZocdocAnswersHow long is bronchitis contagious for?

Question

My sister had bronchitis but she says she feels fine now. I want to go visit her but I am pregnant and I'm afraid I will catch it. How long is someone still contagious after they had bronchitis?

Answer

The answer to this question depends on if her diagnosis of bronchitis is correct and whether she has viral or bacterial bronchitis. Other illnesses such as whooping cough can present in a similar way as bronchitis, but have very different courses and times when infected people are contagious. The vast majority of cases of bronchitis are caused by viruses, often the same viruses that cause the common cold. Similar to the common cold, people are generally contagious during the times when they have symptoms and perhaps shortly after they feel better. If your sister had viral bronchitis, but she is feeling better now, then it is probably fine for you to visit her. This of course depends on the nature of her illness and other medial conditions that you have. If you are otherwise healthy, then there is probably not much to worry about. When you visit her, make sure to wash you hands frequently to help avoid passing the virus around. This is a great question that you should pose to your primary care physician. You can describe your sister's symptoms to your doctor so that he or she has a better idea of how sick she really was. From there you can get solid advice as to when would be safe to visit her.

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