As the name goes, bronchitis is a disease related to abnormal condition of the bronchial tubes of the respiratory system. The bronchial tubes or bronchi are the airways that perform the main function of conducting air to the lungs. In a patient with bronchitis, the mucous membrane lining of the bronchi is inflamed, resulting in various symptoms. Based on the length of the disease, it can be acute or chronic. Also, the incubation period varies according to causal factors.
What is the Incubation Period for Bronchitis?
The most notable symptom of bronchitis is cough, non-productive in case of acute and productive one for chronic bronchitis. While the manifested symptoms remain nearly the same for all patients, the causal reasons vary from one person to another. Acute bronchitis is short-term, and caused by viral infection (reported in 90 percent patients) or bacterial infection (reported in 5-10 percent patients). On the contrary, chronic bronchitis runs for 3 months to 2 years, and is resulted due to inhalation of irritants (like air pollutants and cigarette smoke).
In medical science, incubation period is defined as the gap between pathogenic infection and manifestation of notable symptoms. Hence, when we say bronchitis incubation period, it is applicable to acute bronchitis only. Since, the causes of chronic bronchitis are many and not necessarily infections, there is no point in determining its incubation period. Speaking about the incubation period of acute condition, it is short, and symptoms are observed very soon after infections. Refer to the following information for better understanding about acute bronchitis incubation time.
Viral Acute Bronchitis Incubation
It can be developed from common respiratory tract infections, like cold and flu. To be more precise, short-term viral bronchitis is a referred sign of common cold, which is caused due to infection by rhinovirus. For such a viral infection triggered case, the incubation period usually lasts for 1-3 days. By any chance, if common cold and accompanying bronchitis symptoms stem from bacterial infection, then the incubation period tends to be longer.
Acute Bronchitis Incubation
The actual incubation time differs significantly according to the causal organisms. As stated above, it is a matter of few days for viral bronchitis. In case of bacterial bronchitis, the common pathogens are Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydophila pneumoniae. Bronchitis caused due to infection by mycoplasma is common among young children and adults. For such a case, the incubation period ranges from 16 days to 1 month. On the other hand, elderly patients experience bacterial bronchitis due to chlamydophila infection. In this case, the incubation period is about 4 weeks.
During acute bronchitis, the disease remains contagious. Thus, a patient infected with bacteria or virus may pass the pathogens to another healthy person. Thus, frequent washing of hands, personal cleanliness, and other precautionary measures are indicated to minimize the risk of infections. For patients, in whom, acute bronchitis symptoms are resulted due to asthma or chronic respiratory conditions, there is no need to worry about the transmission of disease.
This inflammatory condition is self-limiting, and improves on its own after a few days. In some patients, dry cough continues for up to 2 or 3 weeks. Nevertheless, the symptoms of chronic bronchitis should not be taken lightly. After confirmation of this chronic disease, the doctor will prescribe medications and lifestyle changes for prompt treatment. Simple practices like inhaling steam, drinking ample amounts of healthy fluids, and taking rest, proves helpful in relieving the symptoms effectively.