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Upper Respiratory Infection

Alkeshkumar Patel, MD -  - Internist

Citrus Medical Clinic

Alkeshkumar Patel, MD

Internist & Primary Care Physician located in Chandler, AZ

Upper respiratory infections represent the most common illness resulting in days off from work, as well as the most common reason for doctor visits. Dr. Alkeshkumar Patel of Citrus Medical Clinic has helped many patients get relief from their symptoms and learn the steps they can take to lower their risk for upper respiratory infections. If you suffer from a miserable cold, flu or sinus infection, call his office in Chandler or Safford, Arizona, or use the online booking feature to schedule an examination.

Upper Respiratory Infection Q & A

What causes upper respiratory infections?

Upper respiratory infection (URI) refers to acute infections involving your nose, nasal cavity, sinuses, and your pharynx, larynx, and trachea (throat, voice box, and windpipe).

While influenza involves the upper respiratory tract, it’s usually not included in the list of URIs because it affects your entire body. The most common URIs are:

  • Rhinitis (common cold)
  • Laryngitis (inflammation of the voice box)
  • Pharyngitis (a sore throat including strep throat)
  • Sinusitis (inflamed sinuses)
  • Tonsillitis (inflamed tonsils)

Many highly contagious viruses and bacteria cause upper respiratory tract infections, although two of the most common is the rhinovirus and coronavirus. They can all be spread through the air following a cough or sneeze and when you come into contact with saliva or nose secretions from an infected person. You can catch it from direct contact with the person or indirectly when you touch a contaminated surface.

What are the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection?

Chances are you’re familiar with the various symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections, but this list includes the range of symptoms:

  • Congested or a runny nose
  • A sore throat, difficulty swallowing
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Mild fever
  • Sinus pain

When should you seek medical help?

If you’re not sure whether you need medical attention, don’t hesitate to call Citrus Medical Clinic and ask. Otherwise, use these guidelines and call Dr. Patel if you have:

  • Symptoms that don’t improve worsen within 72 hours, or recur
  • Fever greater than 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fever lasting five or more days or that recurs
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • A severe sore throat, headache or sinus pain

How are upper respiratory infections treated?

Dr. Patel can prescribe antiviral medications for the flu, but no medications are currently available to treat the viruses responsible for the common cold and other URIs. As a result, treatment consists of symptom relief while your body’s immune system fights the infection.

Self-care includes drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and using over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms. However, please be aware that some of these medications can increase blood pressure and cause heart palpitations. Please don’t hesitate to call Dr. Patel if you have any questions about caring for your upper respiratory infection.

While most colds resolve without complications, inflammation caused by an upper respiratory infection may affect drainage in the middle ear. That can lead to a secondary bacterial infection such as sinusitis.