When you are experiencing upper respiratory symptoms, it often means that you have a contagious illness that was picked up through contact with other people. Upper Respiratory Infections (URI) often result in missed school or workdays, and they are a common reason to visit the doctor. It is possible to get sick with an upper respiratory infection at any time during the year, but the highest risk is when the weather cools down.
Infections in the Upper Respiratory Tract
Most of the time, URIs are caused by a virus, although bacterial infections can sometimes cause similar symptoms. An infection in the upper respiratory area could cause symptoms and irritation in the throat, nose, sinuses, ears, and more. Most respiratory infections are distinguished by the affected areas. Typically, an upper respiratory infection results in symptoms that occur from the neck up. If the symptoms move into the chest area, then the doctors might classify the illness as a lower respiratory tract infection.
The most likely cause of a URI is the common cold, which means that the symptoms will go away on their own after a few days. The recommended treatment is rest and recovery at home, including plenty of fluids and sleep.
On the other hand, sometimes, immediate medical support is needed if the symptoms are severe. Upper respiratory complications could be life-threatening and might result in hospitalization.
Common Symptoms of an Upper Respiratory Infection
The symptoms vary depending on the way the virus or bacterial infection manifests. The most common symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy sinuses
- Body aches
- Itching or watery eyes
- Sore throat
- General malaise
There are over 200 viral strains that can cause URIs. The above symptoms could be caused by a head cold, sinusitis, tonsillitis, flu, laryngitis, and more.
Should You See a Doctor for a Respiratory Infection?
Mild URI symptoms should go away on their own after 7 to 10 days. During this healing time, you can use over-the-counter medications for pain management, decongestants, and other symptomatic relief. If you notice that the symptoms don’t go away, or they are getting worse, then it might be time to talk to a doctor.
Since viruses cause most URIs, antibiotics are ineffective for treatment. But there are times when secondary bacterial infection occurs, such as the development of a sinus infection after having a head cold. A doctor can help you determine the severity of your symptoms, identify an accurate diagnosis, and provide recommendations about the most effective treatments.
Chronic health conditions can increase the possibility of serious complications, so medical care is essential. When a person has a compromised immune system, asthma, diabetes, or a history of heart problems, then medical services shouldn’t be delayed. It is also recommended that you talk to a doctor if the patient is under the age of 2 or over the age of 65.
Visit Our Urgent Care for URI Treatments
You don’t need to suffer from these symptoms while waiting for an available appointment at your doctor’s office. Our board-certified team offers urgent care support on-demand. You are welcome to walk into our clinic or call ahead to schedule an appointment. Call iCare ER and Urgent Care at (214) 407-8668.