Upper Respiratory Infections

Any viral infection of the ears, nose, sinuses, or throat is known as an upper respiratory infection (URI). It can be spread by direct contact, a cough, or a sneeze. While the most common URI is the common cold, sinus infections, sore throat, and ear infections are other examples of URIS that may arise.

URIs are widely seen in the fall and winter when the weather is colder but can also occur in the spring and summer months. Most of the time, a URI is no big deal and goes away on its own in a week or so.

Symptoms of URIs

Since children spend ample time in daycares and schools near other children and adults, they are at high risk for developing URIs. Many adults have had URIs in the past and therefore have stronger immune systems and are less likely to catch them again. While a typical adult will deal with two to three colds each year, a child may experience three to eight.

There are a variety of symptoms that come with URIs. If you are experiencing one, you may notice congestion, discharge in your nose, fatigue, and headache. You may also face a low-grade fever, pain while swallowing, wheezing, and pressure in your sinus areas. Fortunately, most URIs and their symptoms improve within 7 to 10 days.

URI Treatment

Although antibiotics do not help URIs, there are over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen that can treat their symptoms. If you decide to take them, however, do so in moderation as they can lead to side-effects. Rest and nasal sprays as well as home remedies like gargling salt water or drinking tea can also help.

In the event your symptoms do not subside after a week or so or become worse over time, consult a doctor. A doctor can perform a thorough exam and determine if the URI is a sign of a more serious condition such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and allergies. In the event this is the case, antibiotics or an alternative treatment may be necessary.

URI Prevention

There are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of catching a URI. Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water. This way, you'll prevent the spread of germs. Also, stay away from anyone who has a URI and wipe down door knobs, countertops, and other frequently touched surfaces. In addition, do not smoke or vape and use a tissue to cover your mouth every time you cough or sneeze.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

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