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Respiratory Infection Overview:

An upper respiratory infection (URI) is an infection that affects the upper part of your respiratory system, including your nose, sinuses and throat. Upper respiratory infections are spread by coughs, sneezes, and direct contact. The most frequent URI is the common cold. Almost all URIs are caused by viruses and cannot be cured by antibiotics. The best way to treat them is with at home care. This may include drinking lots of fluids and taking over-the-counter pain medicine.

Upper respiratory infections include:

  • Common cold

  • Influenza (flu)

  • Epiglottitis

  • Laryngitis

  • Pharyngitis (sore throat)

  • Sinusitis (sinus infection)

Respiratory Infection Common Symptoms:

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Nasal congestion

  • Pain or pressure within the face

  • Runny nose

  • Sore throat

  • Mild fever

Respiratory Infection Treatment:

Upper respiratory infections typically will resolve on its own. At home care will help to alleviate symptoms.  

Typical at home treatment:

  • Pain relief medication (Tylenol, Advil)

  • Decongestants (Afrin)

  • Antihistamines (Benadryl)

Treatment for a respiratory infection will depend on its cause.

  • Viral infections (like colds): Will usually clear up by itself after a few weeks. Antibiotics will not help.

  • Bacterial infections (like pneumonia): May be helped with prescribed antibiotics.

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