Because most cases of bronchitis are caused by the same kind of contagious virus that causes the common cold, one of the best ways to prevent bronchitis is to wash your hands frequently. You should also consider getting an annual flu shot and should try to avoid contact with others who have respiratory infections or the flu. If you smoke, another important factor is to quit smoking. This will greatly reduce the risk of bronchitis. When you are exposed to irritants in the air, such as dust or fumes, wearing a mask or other protective gear to protect your lungs can also help prevent bronchitis. Your doctor might also recommend getting a pneumonia vaccine, especially if you are over 60 years old or have other issues that increase your risk of bronchitis and pneumonia.