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Upper Respiratory Infection

An acute upper respiratory infection (URI) is a contagious infection affecting the nose, throat, pharynx, and bronchi. It is the most common illness resulting in missed work or school. Majority of URIs are caused by viruses (common cold) and are self-limiting. Other types include sinusitis, pharyngitis, epiglottitis, and tracheobronchitis.

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What is Upper Respiratory Infection?

These infections are common, and anyone can catch one. Yet certain groups of people are more at risk of catching infections. Children are at a high risk since they are often with other children who may be carrying a virus. Children may also wash their hands less frequently than adults. Plus, they’re more likely to put their fingers in their eyes, nose and mouth, allowing the germs to spread easily. People who have heart or lung problems are also at higher risk of getting an upper respiratory infection. Those who have weak immune systems (due to another disease) may get more severe infections.

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Symptoms

  • Cough
  • Production of mucous
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Low fever and chills
  • Swelling of the gum
  • Chest discomfort

Treatment

Keep you and your family healthy. Take steps to prevent upper respiratory infections:

Practice good hygiene:
  • Wash hands, especially before eating or preparing food.
  • Sneeze and cough into your arm or a tissue and wash hands after.
Live a healthy lifestyle:
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Keep up with routine checkups and immunizations.
  • Ask your provider if you should get the pneumococcal vaccine, which prevents pneumonia.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have symptoms lasting longer than two weeks, a high fever or any other concern.

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