Understanding Treatment for
Upper Respiratory Infections

What are upper respiratory infections?

Your upper respiratory tract includes your mouth, nose, throat, larynx (voice box), and trachea (windpipe). Often referred to as “colds,” viruses and bacteria cause upper respiratory infections, most often occurring during the fall and winter months. Upper respiratory infections are very common, and there are many different types, including sinusitis, bronchitis, and laryngitis. Nearly every upper respiratory infection is contagious, and sometimes you can become infected with a virus before any symptoms arrive — making it easier to spread from person to person even before you know you’re ill. As such, it’s crucial to develop regular habits — even when you aren’t sick — such as covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough and regularly washing your hands to stop the spread of infection.

What are the symptoms of upper respiratory infections?

Common symptoms of an upper respiratory infection include a runny nose, postnasal drip, coughing, sneezing, nasal congestion, and fever. If you develop laryngitis, however, you may lose your voice or become hoarse. It’s often hard to distinguish the difference between upper respiratory infections and the flu. But the main differences to remember are that symptoms of the flu come on quickly and impact the entire body — causing a fever, chills, muscle aches and pain, and generally feeling poor.

How does ID Care diagnose upper respiratory infections?

As one of the most common reasons for doctor visits, upper respiratory infections are quickly and easily diagnosed by ID Care specialists. Many times, we can make a diagnosis by examining your current health state, reviewing your symptoms, and understanding your medical history. If needed, however, we may also perform a throat swab.

How does ID Care treat upper respiratory infections?

At ID Care, treatment for your upper respiratory infection is focused on managing and alleviating your symptoms while your body’s immune system fights off the infection. Typically, we’ll recommend over-the-counter cough suppressants or nasal decongestants, inhaling steam and gargling salt water, taking plenty of Vitamin C or zinc, as well as taking medications like Advil or ibuprofen to help with fever or aches and pains. These remedies combined will not only help to reduce your symptoms, but they can also shorten the duration of your infection.