Upper respiratory tract infections affect your respiratory system, including the senses and throat. The symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections include sore throat, runny nose, and cough. Treatment for such disorders includes rest, fluids, and over-the-counter painkillers. Respiratory tract infections generally disappear by themselves.
Respiratory Tract Infections Explained
Respiratory tract infections affect the part of your body responsible for breathing. These infections can impact your sinuses, lungs, throat, and airways. Two types of respiratory tract infections, upper respiratory and lower respiratory tract infections, affect people.
What Are Upper Respiratory Tract Infections?
Upper respiratory tract infections affect the sinuses and the throat. The conditions include the common cold, laryngitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, and epiglottitis.
What Are Lower Respiratory Tract Infections?
Lower respiratory Infections affect your airways and lungs. Generally, lower respiratory tract infections are severe and last longer. The conditions include bronchitis, a lung infection causing cough and fever; bronchiolitis, another lung infection generally affecting children, chest infections and pneumonia.
High-Risk Group for Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
Anyone is susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections. However, some people are more vulnerable to developing these infections. Children are at high risk because they are often with other children who may be carrying the virus. In addition, children wash their hands less frequently than adults and are more likely to put their fingers in their eyes, nose, and mouth, enabling the germs to spread quickly.
People with heart and lung problems are at higher risk of developing this infection. In addition, people with weak immune systems because of other conditions may develop severe infections.
Causes of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
Upper respiratory tract infections develop when viruses enter your respiratory system. For example, you may touch an infected surface or shake hands with an infected person. After that, you may touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. The germs from your hands spread into your body to infect it.
Diagnosis of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
Your healthcare provider or the doctor from the emergency room in Houston will diagnose the infection by conducting a physical exam and inquiring about your symptoms. They will look inside your nose, ears, and throat and listen to your chest for a breathing exam. Often you will not require additional tests. However, if the provider thinks you may have a lung infection or others, they request a lung x-ray, CT scans, nasal swabs, throat swabs, lung function tests to ascertain the functioning of your lungs, and a sputum test when you cough up sputum.
How Contagious Are Upper Respiratory Tract Infections?
Upper respiratory tract infections are highly contagious because they pass from person to person via tiny droplets or hand-to-hand contact. People with upper respiratory tract infections can give it to others by sneezing or coughing without covering their nose or mouth to spray germs in the air causing others to breathe the germ-filled droplets. Sneezing or coughing into the hands and touching others can also enable the spread of germs by allowing the infection into their body when they touch their mouth or eyes.
When to See a Healthcare Provider for Upper Respiratory Tract Infections?
You must contact your healthcare provider or seek medical help from the emergency room near me if you experience symptoms like loss of consciousness, high fever over 103° Fahrenheit, rapid breathing or challenges breathing, dizziness, retractions making you see a more profound outline of your rib cage than usual, frequent severe coughing with vomiting and stridor causing raspy vibrations when breathing to make you sound like a seal.
Are Respiratory Tract Infections Concerning?
Generally, upper respiratory tract infections heal by themselves. However, some people in the high-risk category must take precautions when having these infections. Upper respiratory tract infections are concern for children, the elderly, and people with immunosuppressive conditions.
Severe complications from these infections include respiratory failure because of too much carbon dioxide in the blood, causing the disease to spread to other body parts. If you have concerning symptoms, you must call your healthcare provider or 911. You can also visit emergency medical care in Houston, TX, for attention if you confront challenges with breathing or have other concerning symptoms.
Upper respiratory tract infections are familiar and affect anyone, although children are more susceptible to these infections. The conditions generally disappear by themselves but might need attention from your doctor or an emergency room if they don’t subside within two weeks.
If affected by upper respiratory tract infections, Memorial Heights Emergency Center provides emergency assistance when contacted if your symptoms don’t subside within two weeks. Consult the emergency room for upper respiratory tract infections treatment if you confront challenges with this infection.