What is an Upper Respiratory Infection

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upper respiratory infections

An Upper Respiratory Infection is an umbrella term for a few different types of infection occurring in your upper respiratory tract. This tract covers the nose, throat, pharynx, larynx, and bronchi. Different types of infection include the Common Cold, Influenza (Flu), Pharyngitis/Tonsillitis, and Sinusitis.

The Common Cold is a virulent strain that inflames the membranes that line the nose and throat. It can result from one or more than 200 different viruses. It is very easily spread to others, most commonly through droplets that become airborne as a sick person coughs or sneezes. The inhalation of these droplets is what spreads the virus; though, colds can also be spread through surfaces that contain droplets of the virulent strain. Symptoms are many, but include stuffy and runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, low-grade fever, sore throat, mild hacking cough, and more. What may seem like a cold, could possibly be the flu.

Influenza (Flu) is a virulent strain that can be passed through airborne droplets and surfaces, much like the common cold. The symptoms are more severe than the common cold and can affect your entire body. These symptoms include severe cough, extreme exhaustion, weeks-long fatigue, headache, high fever, runny or stuffy nose, and more. In preventative care, a flu vaccine is created each fall. The flu vaccine has possible side effects including achiness, low-grade fever, and soreness where the shot was given, though these side effects last a short time compared to the symptoms of the flu.

Pharyngitis/ Tonsillitis are majorly caused by a virulent strain, though it could be bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or other causes. This infection can cause inflammation and is spread by close contact with others. The symptoms can start quickly or slowly as sore throat, fever, headache, loss in appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach aches, painful swallowing, redness or drainage in the throat. These symptoms may look like other medical conditions or problems.

Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses causing inflammation. The sinuses are cavities that are near the nose passage that make mucus. The mucus is designed to filtrate the particles out of the air that is breathed. Sinusitis can occur after a cold, during allergies, abnormalities in the structure of the nose, and more. Symptoms can include runny nose, cough, post-nasal drip, headaches, facial pain, cough, fever, bad breath, and more.

SmartDocMD offers online doctors that can treat your upper respiratory infection symptoms. Get started today. We treat non-emergency illnesses such as the common cold, cough, pink eye infections, urinary tract infections, and yeast infections.

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