Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
Table of Contents
- Upper respiratory infection facts
- What is an upper respiratory infection?
- Is an upper respiratory infection contagious?
- What are the causes of upper respiratory infection?
- What are the symptoms of upper respiratory infection?
- What are the risk factors for upper respiratory infection?
- When should you seek medical care for upper respiratory infection?
- How is an upper respiratory infection diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for upper respiratory infection?
- What are home remedies for upper respiratory infection?
- What are some data on alternative therapies in treating upper respiratory infections?
- What are the complications of an upper respiratory infection?
- Can an upper respiratory infection be prevented?
- What is the outlook for a patient suffering from an upper respiratory infection?
What are the symptoms of upper respiratory infection?
Generally, the symptoms of upper respiratory infection result from the toxins released by the pathogens as well as the inflammatory response mounted by the immune system to fight the infection.
Common symptoms of upper respiratory infection generally include:
- nasal congestion,
- runny nose (rhinorrhea),
- nasal discharge (may change from clear to white to green)
- nasal breathing,
- sore or scratchy throat,
- painful swallowing (odynophagia),
- cough (from laryngeal swelling and post nasal drip),
- malaise, and
- fever (more common in children).
Other less common symptoms may include
- foul breath,
- reduced ability to smell (hyposmia),
- shortness of breath,
- sinus pain,
- itchy andwatery eye (conjunctivitis),
- diarrhea, and
- body aches.
The symptoms of upper respiratory infection usually last between 3-14 days; if symptoms last longer than 14 days, an alternative diagnosis can be considered such as, sinusitis, allergy, pneumonia, or bronchitis.
Bacterial pharyngitis (strep throat due to group A Streptococcus) may be considered if symptoms continue to worsen after the first week in the absence of runny nose, cough, or conjunctivitis. Prompt testing and initiation of appropriate antibiotics is important due to the risk of developing rheumatic fever, especially in children.
Epiglottitis is an upper respiratory infection in children that may have a more sudden onset of sore throat, feeling of a lump in the throat, muffled voice, dry cough, very painful swallowing, and drooling.
Upper respiratory infections in the lower part of the upper respiratory tract, such as, laryngotracheitis, are more commonly featured with dry cough and hoarseness or loss of voice. Barking or whooping cough, gagging, rib pain (from severe cough) are other symptoms and signs.
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