The upper respiratory infections or URIs, which are caused by bacteria and viruses, affect the important parts of the body such as the nose, the sinus and the pharynx. This infection can spread due to activities such as coughing, sneezing, or having personal contact with a person, who is already suffering from them.
Apart from the above-mentioned organs, the airways and the windpipe are also affected by it. People generally experience the symptoms of upper respiratory infection two or three days after the virus spreading the infection enters your body. Though, the infection can occur at any time of the year, there are more chances of them affecting people in the winter season. These symptoms are observed in people of all age groups.
An upper respiratory infection can be detected by various symptoms and among them headaches, soreness in throat, runny nose and sneezing are most commonly observed. These symptoms generally last for about one week, and even for two weeks, in some cases. Here is a list of some more symptoms:
- Muscle and bone ache
- Stuffy and blocked nose
- Infections of the ear
- Common cold
- Nasal congestion
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep problems, especially in the children and infants
- Watery eyes
- Scratchy throat
People, who work for long hours and are totally stressed out, both physically and emotionally, stand at a greater risk of suffering from upper respiratory infections. Eating unhealthy or contaminated food, staying in places which are very crowded for a long time and smoking, are some of the major causes of this condition. As per a research, there are hundreds of viruses which can cause these kinds of infections.
Some of the prominent viruses that cause them are:
- Parainfluenza virus
- Respiratory syncytial virus
The nature of the upper respiratory treatments will depend on the age and past medical history of the patient and the seriousness of the disease. Increasing the intake of liquids or fluids is an essential aspect of treatment for upper respiratory infections. Irritation in throat and nose can be easily avoided, by staying away from polluted and contaminated areas.
Following the basic rules of healthy living, such as washing your hands and exercising regularly can prove to be very useful prevention methods. Proper functioning of the immune system which prevents the infections, can be sought by muscle relaxation, breathing and behavioral therapy. There are certain decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and antihistamines such as loratadine, which may be prescribed to treat the infections.
Antibiotics do not help in the process of killing the viruses responsible for the upper respiratory infections and in some cases, are known to cause serious side effects. Use of humidified or heated air and paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce your fever can be helpful. Many people are of the belief that Vitamin C is useful in the treatment of upper respiratory infections, but studies have indicated that large doses of the vitamin can cause side effects.
The information about symptoms, causes and treatment of upper respiratory infection given above will be helpful for you in dealing with this common health problem. Follow all the instructions of your doctor, to recover fast from these infections.