What you need to know about your Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

by | Ask The Intern

What you need to know about your Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

Upper Respiratory Tract Infection also known as URI and is caused by a viral illness that is frequently called the common cold. Typically it starts with a sore throat that lasts about 3 days, with a fever, body aches, fatigue, runny/stuffy nose, headache and cough. You can to be treated based on you signs and symptoms by telemedicine for this condition in most cases unless you have other medical problem (comorbidities) like diabetes, stroke, cancer, chemotherapy or the like. Do your symptoms feel like the signs and symptoms you had with prior upper respiratory tract infections? Many times you can be treated based on you signs and symptoms, if you answer a few questions. Let’s review these.

What are the symptoms of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection?

Common symptoms of URI include:

    • Fever/chills
    • cough
    • body aches and fatigue
    • sore throat
    • runny or stuffy nose
    • headache
    • chills
    • fatigue
    • sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

How did I get a Upper Respiratory Tract Infection?

URI is commonly a viral contagious infection of your upper respiratory tract.  This includes the nose, throat, mouth, pharynx, larynx, and bronchi. It is also known as the common cold. Other types of URIs include sinusitis, pharyngitis, epiglottitis, and tracheobronchitis. Some patients have risk factors for URI like close contact with children (daycares, schools), smoking, asthma, allergies, immune disorders or other chronic illness (cystic fibrosis).

Antibiotics Get You Well Fast, Right?

Doctors treat Upper Respiratory Tract Infection with antibiotics when it is determined to be necessary. Antibiotics are not needed for many URI’s, but your doctor can decide if you need this after and assessment. Antibiotics are not needed for many URI’s, like the common cold which is viral. Telemedicine can help you decide what treatments might be best and if you need an antibiotic. It is often best to follow along with you over a few days journey with your illness and seeing how it goes with some home remedies first. Yes, you might need an antibiotic. Here is what we like for you to do first for a few days. Use the saline nasal spray to irrigate the sinuses 3-4 times a day, then after you blow your nose use the Flonase Nasal Spray once daily. Do NOT use tap water to irrigate your sinuses! You should also take Mucinex (Guaifenesin) to thin the mucus. You can still use the Tylenol and Advil for pain and an antihistamine for allergy symptoms (Zyrtec, Claritin or Allegra). Use the throat lozenges to soothe your throat pain. A prescribed throat lozenge with benzocaine and dextromethorphan (DM) can be very helpful.  Use telemedicine to let us know how you are doing over the first few days and if you need further treatment, we can do that.



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