How Can I Treat an Upper Respiratory Infection?

February 25, 2019


Each year, millions of patients are likely to experience a case of the common cold, influenza, or a related seasonal illness. When patients get suddenly sick during cold or flu season, it is likely the cause of an upper respiratory infection. 
Upper respiratory infections, sometimes referred to as upper respiratory tract infections, are an extremely broad category of bacteria and viruses that infect a patient’s mouth, lungs, or nasal passages. Both the influenza virus and the rhinovirus are viruses that cause the body to experience an upper respiratory infection. 
Patients that suddenly experience common seasonal illness symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, congestion, nausea, and fever may need professional medical help to identify their specific infection. Additionally, a local healthcare provider can help to alleviate symptoms for respiratory illnesses as quickly as possible.
Below, we’ve answered key questions about upper respiratory infections to help patients find the care they need right away. Understanding common illnesses and the appropriate path to treatment are the keys to staying healthy throughout the year!  

What are some common upper respiratory infections? Symptoms?

According to the CDC, rhinoviruses are the most common upper respiratory infections in the United States. Rhinoviruses are the leading causes of common colds that most patients have during a given year. A list of the most common respiratory infections and common illnesses include the following: 

  • Rhinoviruses – common cold 
  • Influenza A and B – the flu 
  • Parainfluenza  
  • Adenovirus 
  • RSV 

The viruses mentioned above lead to common conditions including the common cold, the flu, bronchitis, and other seasonal illnesses. Additionally, these viruses cause similar symptoms with varying degrees of intensity and duration. Symptoms to watch out for include: 

  • Sneezing 
  • Coughing
  • Congestion 
  • Nausea 
  • Fever
  • Fatigue 

A few illnesses are preventable through vaccines, like the flu shot, but most of these diseases don’t have a direct preventive immunization. Proper hygiene, avoiding contact with sick patients, and frequent hand-washing are crucial to preventing the spread of infectious viruses. 

How can I treat and diagnose an upper respiratory infection

If you begin to experience upper respiratory infection symptoms, then you may want to try over-the-counter medicines to manage irritating symptoms. Make sure you use medications as instructed in order to safely alleviate current symptoms. 
While most infections can be treated with at-home rest, it helps to visit a healthcare provider or urgent care center for immediate treatment and diagnosis. The good news for patients is that AFC Urgent Care Edgewater can not only treat infections, but we can also diagnose the root cause of your illness. 
Certain infections may require more comprehensive treatment than others. By visiting AFC Urgent Care, patients can get care faster via our walk-in clinic and figure out the cause of their infection. Our team then provides treatment so you can become symptom-free ASAP! 


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