What is a Respiratory Infection?

A respiratory infection is an infection that can affect the upper respiratory system, including the sinuses all the way down to your vocal chords. It can also affect the lower respiratory system, which begins at the vocal chords and ends at the lungs.

There are several different causes of a respiratory infection. An upper respiratory infection may be caused by acute pharyngitis, acute ear infection, and the common cold. Causes of lower respiratory infection may include bronchitis, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis.

Symptoms may differ depending on if you have an upper or lower respiratory infection, but may include:

  • Congestion in the sinuses or lungs
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Body aches
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Fatigue

The symptoms of a respiratory infection usually last between 3-14 days, and if symptoms last longer, a diagnosis of sinusitis, allergy, pneumonia, or bronchitis may be made.

How to Treat a Respiratory Infection

Most cases of respiratory infection are caused by viruses, and require no specific treatment. Rest and an increased intake of fluids is advised to help treat an upper respiratory infection. Over-the-counter medications can also be used to treat symptoms, including Acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines, cough medications, and more. However, if your symptoms do not lessen or become worse, visit Springfield Urgent Care as soon as possible.

If a bacterial infection is the cause of your respiratory infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. Antivirals may also be recommended by doctors for patients who have poor immune systems.

If you are experiencing upper or lower respiratory symptoms, contact us as soon as possible. We will address your symptoms and create an individualized treatment plan to have you feeling better in no time!

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