Millions of families in America visit the doctor every year for upper respiratory tract infections (URTI).
URTIs are caused by an infection that affects the sinuses, nose, larynx, and/or pharynx. There are many types of URTIs — the common cold is the one patients are most familiar with.
This is a common illness and is usually harmless; however, it’s powerful enough to make patients miss school or work.
We’re currently in the height of the fall season. Unfortunately, this is when URTIs most commonly spread. It’s important to know the symptoms of a URTI before the illness gets worse. Here are the signs of an upper respiratory infection.
Ahhh-choo! We sneeze when a foreign particle causes irritation in our nasal cavity. Most of the time, sneezing is harmless.
However, one of the symptoms of a URTI is increased mucus in your nasal cavity. Constant sneezing is one of the first signs that there’s too much mucus in your sinuses, irritating your nose.
Sneezing also continues as the sickness increases. Constant sneezing can leave you restless, making it difficult to fall asleep. Sneezing is also one of the most common ways to spread a URTI.
We cough when the nerve ending in our airways are irritated. This usually occurs when foreign invaders enter your airway and your body is trying to clear your airways.
While coughing is one of the many annoyances when you have a URTI, coughing also helps you heal.
Coughing helps to remove the germy mucus from your throat and lungs. However, use cough suppressants if your coughs are irritating your throat and lungs.
If you start coughing up colored phlegm (such as green phlegm) then it’s time to visit the doctor.
It’s difficult to breathe when you’re sick. That’s because of nasal congestion, which is one of the most common symptoms.
Nasal congestion is most commonly called a runny nose. Excess fluids cause our blood vessels to swell. This causes your body to produce more mucus membranes, which plugs up your nose.
Severe nasal congestion can cause pressure and even pain.
What happens to the mucus that’s clogged in your nose? It has to run out. This is why we get a runny nose.
The mucus gets stuck in the opening to your nasal passage, forcing us to blow our noses. Severe runny noses cause the mucus to drip out of the nasal passage.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to relieve this symptom. A hot shower opens up your nasal passages, helping the fluids drip out easier. If this doesn’t work, try nasal saline sprays to clear up the excess mucus.
Keep in mind, a severe runny nose can cause fluid loss and dehydration. Always see a doctor if this occurs.
Low-grade fevers are common with a URTI. Fevers are our body’s natural response to infection. You shouldn’t be concerned unless your fever gets too high.
If it does, try taking either Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen before visiting a doctor.
An upper respiratory infection is never fun. In case you get sick, you should have a clinic you can trust. If you’re feeling under the weather in the Bossier or Haughton area of LA call or come in and see us for our cold, flu, and fever services.