Upper Respiratory Infection

What is the Upper Respiratory Tract?

The upper respiratory tract consists of the nose, nasal cavity, larynx, trachea, and sinuses. Upper Respiratory Infections (URI) consist of the common cold (rhinitis), influenza, laryngitis (inflammation of the voice box), pharyngitis (sore throat), sinusitis, tonsillitis and croup (in children).

Who gets URIs?

All individuals can acquire URIs, and most people have a minimum of two colds per year. Children have a tendency to acquire more URIs than adults because they are exposed to significantly more germs, viruses and bacteria in their group day care and school settings.

What causes URIs?

There are 200+ viruses associated with causing URI infections. These types of viruses are extremely contagious and spread through the direct contact of shaking hands, sharing food / drink, and kissing. Additionally, URIs can be spread through coughing and sneezing and then touching the eyes, nose or mouth.

What are the symptoms of a URI?

The common cold has symptoms that consist of coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, to congestion, headache and sore throat. Colds may or may or not exhibit with a fever. Most common colds last for seven-to-ten days. During this period of time, the patient may contract another viral infection such as influenza, which will cause greater discomfort than a cold. Flu sufferers typically experience high fever, headache, chills, weakness and fatigue. Laryngitis symptoms typically include hoarseness and voice loss, while pharyngitis is a severe sore throat. If the sore throat includes a bacterial infection, this may be a strep throat infection. Sinusitis may follow a cold that does not seem to go away and may include headache and pain the forehead, eyes, cheeks and nose.

What is the best home treatment for URI?

Home treatment should include plenty of rest and fluids. Some over-the-counter medications can be taken with care. Salt water gargling may relieve a sore throat. While humidifiers typically a good source for ending a cough. Antibiotics are typically not recommended for URI’s which may be viral in nature. If symptoms last longer than ten days a physician should be sought in order to determine whether antibiotics are appropriate for the condition.

Who is qualified to treat URI?

A specialized professional, preferably an otolaryngologist with extensive sinus experience, is necessary to evaluate and diagnose the causes of chronic or acute sinusitis caused by Upper Respiratory Infections. It is important to not only deal with the current bout of sinusitis, but to take steps to reduce the chances of the sinusitis recurring in the future, which require analysis of the likely contributing factors.

The sinus-specialty otolaryngologists of The Sinus Institute at CEI have over 35 years of experience treating sinusitis in all of its forms using both medical treatments and cutting edge surgery options. Click here to make an appointment.