The main parts of the upper respiratory system include the sinuses and throat. Whenever an infection affects these respiratory system parts, the patient has an upper respiratory infection. This condition occurs when a bacteria or virus enters the upper respiratory system, thus causing symptoms like a runny nose, cough and sore throat. Dr. Nilay Shah recommends that patients seek help when their symptoms persist to prevent their condition from worsening.
Who is at risk of upper respiratory infection?
Upper respiratory infections are common, and anyone can get them. However, children are the most susceptible since they are often around other children and may not maintain proper hygiene like adults. Patients with underlying conditions that may weaken their immune systems are at higher risk of developing upper respiratory infections because their bodies cannot fight off the infection and maintain their well-being.
What are the different types of upper respiratory infections?
The main types of upper respiratory infections are:
- Common cold: This group of viruses affects patients of different ages.
- Epiglottis: This infection occurs in the top part of the trachea and causes inflammation of the epiglottis.
- Laryngitis: Patients with this type of upper respiratory infection experience inflammation in the larynx.
- Pharyngitis: This type of infection is commonly known as a sore throat.
- Sinusitis: Inflammation of the sinuses can cause discomfort and fever.
How can you confirm an upper respiratory infection diagnosis?
If you suspect that you or your children have an upper respiratory infection, you need to seek medical care from a physician to prevent your condition from getting worse. Your doctor should first perform a physical examination on your ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Your doctor will also examine your breathing by listening to your chest.
Patients with untreated upper respiratory infections can develop complications in the lungs that make it difficult to breathe. For this reason, your physician should conduct complementary tests, especially if there is concern that the infection has reached your lungs. Imaging tests like lung X-Rays or CT scans can help your doctor understand the severity of your condition.
How can you prevent an upper respiratory infection?
The easier way for bacteria and viruses to enter your body is through interaction with an infected person. For this reason, it is essential to remember to wash your hands after greeting strangers because you do not know their health status, and they might be a carrier of the virus or bacteria. Also, if you notice anyone with upper respiratory infection symptoms, it would be best to keep a safe distance from them because the viruses and bacteria can transfer through the air.
Allergens can also cause inflammation in the upper respiratory tract and cause patients to experience infection-like symptoms. If you are allergic to specific substances, try to avoid exposure to them to maintain your well-being.
Most physicians recommend antibiotics to fight off any infections in the upper respiratory tract. However, working with a qualified professional is essential, especially since there are different upper respiratory infections, and the correct diagnosis could help promote treatment efficacy.
If you have questions about treatments for your upper respiratory infection, contact Formé Medical Center and Urgent Care.