What is an upper respiratory infection?
An upper respiratory infection (URI) is a common viral infection that affects the throat, nose, and airways. Examples of URIs are sinus infections, rhinitis, the common cold, and pharyngitis, to name a few. These infections can happen at any time but are more common in the fall and winter months. URIs are one of the most common reasons for doctor visits, especially in children.
What are the symptoms of upper respiratory infection?
Symptoms of URIs include:
- Nasal discharge or runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Scratchy or sore throat
- Painful swallowing
- Postnasal drip or drainage
While adults and children often have similar symptoms, children can also exhibit:
- Watery eyes
- Sore eyes
- Body aches
- Sore muscles
When to see a doctor
Usually, URIs resolve themselves within 7-10 days. Treatments often include rest and medications to relieve any symptoms. However, you should seek medical care if you or someone you know are experiencing any of the following:
- Symptoms are severe and worsening
- Symptoms last more than a couple of weeks
- Difficulty breathing
- Impaired swallowing
- The infection is recurring
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