Is It a Bacterial Infection or Viral?
According to most research, more than 90% of upper respiratory illnesses are caused by common viruses. Upper respiratory infections occur in the lungs, chest, sinuses, and throat. Viral germs are spread easily from one person to another when infected people cough, sneeze, touch their nose, or rub their eyes, and distribute tiny droplets of the virus to surfaces or the air.
It is important to determine if your upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, or by a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections can be treated with an antibiotic. A viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. Doing so actually furthers the drug resistant antibiotic health crisis.
Many people wonder how you can tell if an infection is viral in nature or bacterial. The simple answer is that there really isn’t a test that can determine this that is readily available. Viruses often have a rapid onset, and brings with it fever right away. Bacterial infections may not present with a fever, or if they do, it’s much later, after other symptoms have presented first. If you have green or yellow discharge, and your symptoms have lasted more than 10 days, you should see a doctor. SmartDocMD is an online doctor service that is available to patients like you.
Many times patients suspect that they just have a cold, and wait it out. This is a good rule of thumb unless you have some serious symptoms that are bothering you. Shortness of breath, or trouble breathing should be taken seriously.
How are most upper respiratory infections treated?
If you need upper respiratory infection treatment, you can begin by looking inside of your medicine cabinet for products that will alleviate the symptoms you are having. Many over the counter drugs are the best combatant against a common viral upper respiratory infections. In some cases, antivirals are prescribed, but usually, patients can best be served by using a myriad of over the counter medicines in combination with home remedies and a few different foods.
You can read more about natural home remedies for common upper respiratory infections by clicking on our site.
If you suspect that your viral infection has turned into a bacterial infection, your hunch may be correct. Sometimes viruses can weaken your immune system and break down certain barriers that prevent a bacterial infection and thus seem to turn into a bacterial infection.
What about chronic upper respiratory infections?
Chronic infections in the chest or sinus should not be shrugged away. Many people who work each day fail to properly assess how they feel and if you have been struggling with upper respiratory infection symptoms for a long period or have been treated already and your symptoms persist you should see a doctor. Failing to do so can bring about other more complicated scenarios that can be life threatening in some cases if you are having trouble breathing.
Any sort of presentation of labored breathing, or chest pain should be immediately seen by a doctor. Situations can arise such as viral myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle caused by a viral infection is just one of many situations that can happen when a person has a lingering chronic viral infection.
Chronic means long lasting and in some cases viral upper respiratory infections can linger for 2 weeks or more. If you suspect that you have a chronic infection you should mention these concerns to a doctor.
Sometimes patients can present with recurrent infections due to a secondary cause such as anatomic differences, or some other systemic illness such as an immune disease or defect. Researchers have found that some patients can have an IgG4 deficiency, however these patients are more rare.
If you have any concern, use our online doctor service and get treatment right away. You can speak to a doctor swiftly online using our platform. Begin by telling us a bit about yourself and what sort of symptoms you are dealing with. We treat all types of infections including upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, colds and viruses, urinary tract infections, eye infections, common allergies, and vaginal yeast infections.