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Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) are probably one of the most common infections that affect children and adults alike. While the common cold - Nasopharyngitis is usually self-limiting, other respiratory infections such as pharyngitis, sinusitis, epiglottitis and laryngotracheitis (inflammation of the trachea and larynx) must be promptly treated. The common cold is a mild and self-limiting condition that affects children often in their early years. Thereafter the incidence decreases.


Common Cold : Most upper respiratory infections (URI) are viral. There are nearly 200 types of virus that cause the common cold. You are more likely to contract an upper respiratory infection when you are tired and physically or emotionally fatigued. Working and living in crowds and lack of balanced nutrition make you more susceptible to URIs. The common cold is very contagious. It is not surprising to note an entire class being affected by it as soon as a child gets affected by a new strain of virus. Spread of virus occurs while sneezing or touching the eyes or mouth after you have touched something contaminated by the virus. A person suffering from a cold - Nasopharyngitis, is most contagious during the first 3 days. Typical symptoms of URI are runny nose, sore throat and water eyes. The ears may be congested and the person may run mild fever. The first 2 days of a cold are marked by repeated sneezing and watery nasal discharge. This secretion becomes thicker in a couple of days. You might experience postnasal drip, low-grade fever, headache, burning eyes and muscle aches depending on the kind of virus you have picked up.


Most of the time, common colds are treated with over-the-counter medications. Resting well and drinking plenty of fluids can help you feel better. Hot chicken soup can do wonders to relieve stuffy nose and other symptoms. Gargling with warm salt water works well for a sore throat. Mild antihistamines can be used for runny nose. Expectorants can help in drainage of mucus. Acetaminophen or mild pain relievers can be used in case of sore throat and headache. Vitamin C supplements can also help. Inhaling steam can temporarily relieve symptoms of congestion.


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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 11, 2017