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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Bronchitis


These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Bronchitis
Question: Is Bronchitis contagious, and what treatment should you receive?

Answer: Bronchitis is usually caused by bacteria in your own system. It is usually several bacteria, although there is professional disagreement here. In general, it is not contagious, but it is treated by antibiotics. This actually is more difficult to treat than pneumonia and may take several weeks of antibiotics to cure.

Bronchitis
Question: Do you know if bronchitis is a hereditary disease? Also, do you know the history of bronchitis, or if bronchitis can spread from people to people?

Answer: Bronchitis does not have a genetic component. The most common cause of Chronic Bronchitis is cigarette smoking. It cannot spread from people to people.

Chronic Bronchitis
Question: Both my wife and my adult daughter have been exposed to Chlorine gas in incidents separated by some 35 years. Both suffer from chronic bronchitis, and my wife seems unable to exercise to any satisfactory level of fitness. In short, she cannot exercise to reach, let alone stay in, an aerobic state. I'm a slow bicyclist, but she cannot keep up with me, and even a brisk half-mile or so walking exhausts her for days afterward. Is it possible to have too much muscle mass for the lungs to sustain in such a case? Is there any alternative for our daughter?

Answer: If it is the chlorine gas which is the cause, this will be fairly irreversible-similar to gas damage to doughboys in WW1. Pulmonary tests including diffusing capacity will be necessary to determine this. I would ensure that she does not have any reversible causes like mild asthma, etc. Treatment of these could improve her aerobic functioning-treatment of the chlorine injury will be futile.

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