If you’ve got a runny nose, an aching throat, and a cough that won’t quit, you can probably blame it on an upper respiratory infection (URI). URIs are one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor, especially in fall and winter. Educate yourself on the illness, and learn ways to battle the miserable symptoms associated with it.
What is an upper respiratory infection?
An upper respiratory infection is a term used to describe a contagious infection of the upper respiratory tract (the nose, throat, airways, sinuses, and ears). Most URIs are viral illnesses, though some are caused by bacteria. The common cold, sinusitis, and bronchitis all types of upper respiratory infections.
What are the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, and how long will they last?
Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection are caused by inflammation of the mucous membranes in your upper respiratory tract. They include runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, cough, and mucus production. Fever, headache, fatigue, and wheezing are also common.
How do you treat an upper respiratory infection?
If a bacteria is causing your upper respiratory infection, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics to treat it. However, antibiotics are ineffective for viral URIs. In these instances, treatment is focused on alleviating symptoms.
If your symptoms are severe or long lasting, it’s important to seek medical help. Secondary bacterial infections may develop, and require treatment. Head to the doctor ASAP if you experience:
- A fever greater than 101 F for more than two days
- Shortness of breath, pain or tightness in your chest, wheezing
- A painful cough that worsens, or lasts longer than two weeks
- A bad sore throat that worsens, or lasts longer than three days
- Swollen glands in your neck that aren’t going away
- Pain in your face or teeth that does not improve
- A long-lasting, or severe headache
- A rash
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Significant drowsiness or confusion
Walk into a Well-Key Urgent Care clinic any day, any time, no appointment needed for prompt, affordable treatment of an upper respiratory infection. With x-rays, lab testing, and an amazing medical team on staff, we’re here to help you feel better.