Upper respiratory infection treatment
Dawn Drewes, APRNTelehealth visit
- Available tomorrow
Dr. Anna Chacon, MDTelehealth visit
- Available today
- Highly rated
About Upper respiratory infection
The upper respiratory tract is comprised of your sinuses, throat, airways, and lungs. When these areas are infected with a virus or bacteria, they may become inflamed. A cold is the most common form of URI. Other forms of an upper respiratory infection include:
- Laryngitis (inflammation of the vocal cords)
- Pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx, or the mucous membranes at the back of the throat)
- Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses, commonly caused by another infection of the respiratory tract)
The infections may cause slighly different effects.
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Mucus production
- Sore throat
The symptoms of most viral infections will go away on their own within a week or two.
URIs are usually passed through microscopic droplets in the air that are expelled when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Inhaling these droplets can result in the infection passing to you. School children, or children who attend daycare, are at a greater risk of URIs as they are frequently exposed to other children who may carry infections.
- Poor hygiene (such as not washing your hands after using the restroom)
- Smoking/ secondhand smoke
- Time spent in crowded places such as airplanes, subways, buses, and schools
- Autoimmune disorders (such as lupus and diabetes)
Most viral infections are mild and do not require medical attention. However, you should talk to your health care provider if you experience any of the symptoms above along with:
- High fever (over 103 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Difficulty breathing/ wheezing
- Severe coughing/ coughing up blood
These symptoms may signify a more serious infection, such as influenza or COVID-19, and respond best to early treatment. If you experience any of the symptoms above, seek medical attention and avoid public areas until your condition has been diagnosed.