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    Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

    What is Upper Respiratory Tract Infection?

    Upper respiratory tract infections can be defined as self-limited irritation and swelling of the upper airways with associated cough and no signs of pneumonia, in a patient with no other condition that would account for their symptoms, or with no history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis.

    These infections involve only the nose, sinuses, pharynx, larynx, and large airways. It is very difficult to define most of the forms of upper respiratory tract infections as it is caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses and presents as acute bronchitis, common cold, influenza and respiratory distress syndromes.

    URIs are one of the most common diagnoses in the outpatient setting. Fall months see a peak in incidence of common cold caused by the rhinovirus.


    The most common virus is rhinovirus. Other viruses include the influenza virus, adenovirus, enterovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus. Bacteria which may be responsible for sudden onset of pharyngitis is S. pyogenes.

    Following risk factors may also be implicated:

    • Close contact with children
    • Underlying medical condition
    • Smoking
    • Immunocompromised host

    Sign and symptoms

    The organism is usually acquired by inhalation of infected droplets. The most common URTIs are rhinitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis and laryngitis. The most common symptoms include-

    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Runny nose with sneezing
    • Nasal congestion
    • Headache
    • Low-grade fever with malaise and myalgia

    The symptoms appear after one to three days of the exposure and lasts 7-10 days.


    Common cold can be diagnosed clinically and hence no diagnostic procedures are required.

    General management

    Proper medications are required for the symptomatic relief with vitamin supplements (especially vitamin C). Maintaining adequate hydration is also necessary.

    Warning: Above information provided is an overview of the disease, we strongly recommend a doctor's consultation to prevent further advancement of disease and/or development of complications.

    Disclaimer: The information provided herein on request, is not to be taken as a replacement for medical advice or diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DO NOT SELF MEDICATE. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN FOR PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND PRESCRIPTION.

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