An upper respiratory infection (URI) refers to an infection that affects the area of your throat and nasal passages. Its treatment is simple usually unless an individual has any chronic respiratory condition like asthma.
This infection appears when any bacteria or virus enters your body. They enter from your nose or mouth. You can pass this infection to others through cough, sneezing, or touch. Adults can get two to three URIs in one year. These infections are more common in children.
Specifically, young children are more affected by these infections. The reason is that their immune system is still developing. Children who spend maximum time while playing with other kids are more vulnerable to developing this infection.
Children are less likely to clean their hands as compared to adults. They transfer infection through sneezing and touching. Moreover, they do not wash their hands when they need to. Enclosed spaces have greater risks of spreading infections.
Examples of such spaces are offices, classrooms, and homes. Upper respiratory infection typically stays for seven to ten days. It can maximally occur for three weeks. These infections cause more complicated issues in some cases like pneumonia and sinus infection.
Different types of upper respiratory infections can lead to different symptoms including mild fever, coughing, pain or feeling of pressure within the face, excess mucus, discomfort in the area of nasal passages, nasal congestion, and sneezing.
People with URIs can have a runny nose and a scratchy or sore throat. Other symptoms of URIs include bad breath, aches in the body, headache, itchy eyes, and hypersomnia. You may get symptoms after one to three days of being exposed to infection.
Duration of symptoms is from six to ten days. If symptoms of upper respiratory infection are unable to be treated at home and occur continuously, consult your doctor.
Sometimes URIs can recover without any treatment. You may get mild symptoms that are easy to treat at home. However, certain infections can lead to severe symptoms and complications. In this case, individuals need professional care.
It may be important to be diagnosed properly. The reason is that initial symptoms can be easily treated. Sometimes initial symptoms resemble the symptoms of certain other illnesses like asthma, pneumonia, allergic reactions, COVID-19, and bronchitis.
If home care fails to resolve your symptoms and they get worse, contact your doctor. It is important specifically if you are getting problems in breathing. Your doctor may recommend some over-the-counter medications that help adults with URIs. These include:
- Pain Relief Medications: For example ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and anesthetic sprays.
- Decongestants: It includes pseudoephedrine, oxymetazoline, and phenylephrine.
- Antihistamines: These medicines include diphenhydramine, brompheniramine, and chlorpheniramine.
A study reported that antihistamines and nasal decongestants together may be effective in the treatment of upper respiratory infections. Study authors reported that children who are under the age of 12 years should not use these medications.
Treating upper respiratory infections involves making an individual comfortable by decreasing symptoms. Some people reported that remedies are helpful in treating URIs. Some options to use include honey, echinacea supplements, garlic when it’s raw and hot tea.
We recommend you use hot tea with lemon, ginger, or both. You should also use the root of ginger in hot water in order to get relief from the symptoms of URIs. Essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus can also prove beneficial for people with URIs.
You should avoid smoky areas, take rest, avoid alterations in temperature, apply petroleum jelly, increase the levels of humidity indoors, drink plenty of water, and use soft tissues when blowing the nose. URI can be contagious. It spread from person to person through exhaling the infection.
You can get the infection from uncovered sneezing or coughing through breathing and hand-to-hand contact if the hands of another individual are unwashed. A person who touches his nose, mouth, and eyes is more vulnerable to getting the infection.
Your body has much natural defence against URIS. These defences are given below.
- The lining of the hair which works to trap infectious agents
- Cells present in the lower airways, which work to transport pathogens back to the area of your pharynx
- Mucus which works to trap infectious agents
- The angle between your pharynx and nose prevents the pathogens from falling into the area of your airways.