It’s difficult for the average person to understand their illness. That’s why urgent care center’s are so popular for common infections and illnesses. Just think, how many illnesses present symptoms of fever, chills, coughing, etc. This remains no different in the case of an upper respiratory infection. Like many illnesses the bodies natural responses to rid you of an infection are present in the case of an URI. But, it’s also important to get a professional opinion to rule out more serious illnesses.
In this blog post we will discuss upper respiratory infections, their symptoms, and a few methods of treatment that can be done at home and when it’s time to visit your local urgent care center.
What is an upper respiratory infection (URI)
An upper respiratory infection, also called an upper respiratory tract infection (URI), is an illness that occurs when viruses or bacteria infect the upper respiratory system. The upper respiratory system includes the nose, throat, sinuses, and upper airways. URI’s are usually contagious and can spread through coughing, sneezing, or contact with contaminated surfaces. Many different viruses and bacteria can cause upper respiratory infections, but the most common are the rhinovirus, influenza virus, and adenovirus.
URI’s are very common, especially in children. In fact, children get six to eight upper respiratory infections every year. However, URI’s can occur at any age. The risk of developing a URI increases in the fall and winter, but they can occur any time of year.
What causes an upper respiratory infection?
URI’s are caused by viruses or bacteria that infect the upper respiratory system. The most common cause of URI’s is the rhinovirus, which is a type of virus that causes the common cold.
URI’s are usually spread through contact with respiratory secretions, such as mucus or saliva, from an infected person. This can happen when you are in close contact with an infected person, such as shaking hands, hugging, or sharing cups or utensils. URI’s can also spread through airborne droplets, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby, or they can land on surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops, or toys. If you touch these contaminated surfaces and then touch your own mouth, nose, or eyes, you can become infected.
What are the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection?
The symptoms of a URI vary depending on the virus or bacteria that is causing the infection. However, some common symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Body aches
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. In most cases, they will resolve on their own within a week or two. However, some people may experience more severe symptoms that require medical treatment.
If you have a fever that lasts for more than three days, or if your fever is accompanied by a severe headache, earache, or rash, you should see a doctor. You should also see a doctor if you have difficulty breathing, or if your cough is accompanied by chest pain or coughing up blood.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor or visit an urgent care center.
How is an upper respiratory infection diagnosed?
In most cases, a URI can be diagnosed based on your symptoms. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and they may also perform a physical examination. In some cases, your doctor may order a chest X-ray or other tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms, such as pneumonia. Upper respiratory infections are ultimately diagnosed using a combination of your symptoms, medical history, and physical examination.
How is an upper respiratory infection treated?
Most upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses, and they will resolve on their own within a week or two. However, there are a few things you can do to ease your symptoms:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Use a humidifier to moisten the air.
- Avoid cigarette smoke and other irritants.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to relieve fever, body aches, and pain.
If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics. However, it is important to finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if you are feeling better. Stopping your antibiotics early can allow the bacteria to continue to grow and cause more serious infections.
If you have any questions or concerns about upper respiratory infections, you should contact your doctor or visit an urgent care center.
How long does a respiratory upper respiratory infection last?
A upper respiratory infection will usually last for a week or two. However, some people may experience more severe symptoms that require medical treatment. If you have a fever that lasts for more than three days, or if your fever is accompanied by a severe headache, earache, or rash, you should see a doctor. You should also see a doctor if you have difficulty breathing, or if your cough is accompanied by chest pain or coughing up blood.
Can a Upper Respiratory Infection be prevented?
There are a few things you can do to lower your risk of getting a upper respiratory infection:
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating or after shaking hands with someone.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with bacteria or viruses.
- Get the flu vaccine every year.
- If you have any questions or concerns about upper respiratory infections, you should contact your doctor or visit an urgent care center.
Upper respiratory infection vs COVID-19
It can be difficult to tell the difference between an upper respiratory infection and COVID-19 because they share many of the same symptoms. However, there are a few key differences:
- COVID-19 is more likely to cause severe symptoms, including fever, Shortness of breath, and coughing up blood.
- COVID-19 is more likely to cause a loss of sense of smell or taste.
- COVID-19 is more likely to cause fatigue and muscle aches.
Ultimately today, it will be commonplace for an urgent care center to administer a COVID testing practice to rule out COVID-19 infection as the symptoms of both can be similar. q
Visit iCare in Argyle, TX for Upper Respiratory Infection Treatment
At iCare in Argyle, we are connected to Wise Health Emergency Center. Patients experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of an upper respiratory infection should visit our urgent care center. We are perfectly equipped to transfer those patients who may need emergency care services directly next door to our connected facility. This allows for a better standard of care, and more affordable pricing for our patients so they may get back to feeling better! Contact us for more information!