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Upper Respiratory Infection: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Upper respiratory infections (URI) are very common and include the common cold and flu. An upper respiratory infection is defined as an infection of any of the structures of the upper respiratory tract: the sinuses, nasal passages, pharynx, and larynx. Examples of specific types of upper respiratory infection include rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal cavity), sinusitis (sinus infection), nasopharyngitis (inflammation of the nasal cavity, pharynx, hypopharynx, uvula, and tonsils), pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx, uvula, and tonsils), laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), and epiglottitis (inflammation of the upper portion of the larynx or the epiglottis). Viruses cause most upper respiratory infections, although bacteria and fungi can also infect these areas.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2015

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