What Causes Upper Respiratory Infection?

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upper respiratory infections

The usual cause of an upper respiratory infection is a viral infection that has been inhaled from another person with the infection. Droplets of the virus can be inhaled from the air. Usually the virus is transmitted by touch, sneezing or coughing. Upper respiratory viruses usually run rampant in populations that are enclosed together, especially in the winter months. Think about how fast a virus in the air could spread inside of a classroom, office, or home. While it is rare for a bacterium to cause an upper respiratory infection, it is possible.

An upper respiratory infection affects the upper air passageways in the body. Patients experiencing these experience symptoms in their larynx, nose and chest. If you have an upper respiratory infection, you can expect it to last anywhere from 3 to 14 days. Sometimes, these infections can develop into more complex, severe infections that lead to sinus infections or pneumonia. If left untreated these types of infections can lead to conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.

Patients that have an upper respiratory infection will experience various symptoms from mild to severe. They include coughing, irritated nasal passages, mild fever, excess mucus, nasal congestion, runny nose, pain behind the face, a sore or scratchy throat, and sneezing. Sometimes, patients notice bad breath, body aches, headache, hyposmia – which is the loss of the sense of smell, and itchy eyes.

Treatment options for upper respiratory infections depend on the cause of the infection. In rare cases of a bacterial infection being the cause, an antibiotic will be prescribed. Usually though, treatment involves limiting the symptoms that you are experiencing with over the counter medicines and remedies. You should use soft tissues when blowing your nose and apply petroleum jelly to sore areas including your lips and nostrils. Drink plenty of water and get as much rest as you possibly can, to assist your immune system in fighting the viral infection. Avoid smoky or fume filled locations, increase the humidity indoors in your spaces, and avoid temperature changes within a wide range.

Many over the counter medicines treat upper respiratory infections including antihistamines, pain-relievers, and decongestants. Throat lozenges can be used as well for sore throat.

If you think that you may have an upper respiratory infection and have experienced symptoms like this for longer than a week, you should see a doctor. You don’t have to drive anywhere and can be seen form the comforts of your home. Usually, upper respiratory infections are contagious. You should stay away from enclosed spaces where there are large groups of people, the elderly, and young children during the time that you are feeling the symptoms. You can speak to a doctor online about what causes upper respiratory infections and receive treatment when you use the online doctor service that we provide. Simply start your care now, and you’ll fill out the quick questionnaire that we have provided to triage different patients. We’ll get to the bottom of what is ailing you. Once you have filled out the OPI, you’ll receive some treatment recommendations and you can choose to speak to a doctor online about your illness.

You’ll be connected with a doctor that is board certified in the United States, with a DEA prescribing license. Our online doctors currently treat patients in the state of California only.

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