The upper respiratory tract is made up of the major parts of the respiratory system and includes
the nasal cavity, mouth, pharynx (throat), and larynx (voice box). Like many other parts of the
body, the structures that make up the upper respiratory tract are lined with a mucous membrane
which traps particles inhaled from the environment in order to prevent infection. As a result, the
air that reaches the lungs is clean and free of any potential contaminants. Even with this
effective system in place, infection is still possible. An acute upper respiratory infection is
contagious and occurs when bacteria or a virus enters the system. The most common type of
acute upper respiratory infection is the common cold, but other types include pharyngitis,
sinusitis, epiglottitis, and tracheobronchitis.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR ACUTE UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTION?
Because an acute upper respiratory infection is highly contagious, everyone is at risk of
developing one. However, those with weakened immune systems, the elderly, young children
and those who have been in direct contact with someone who already has a respiratory
infection and may have sneezed or coughed in their direction is at an increased risk of
UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTION SYMPTOMS
The symptoms of an acute respiratory infection can vary from person to person, but most
commonly include a runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing (including a productive cough),
and sneezing. Additional symptoms may include pain upon swallowing, fever, headache,
fatigue, and wheezing.
Diagnosis and Upper Respiratory Infection Treatment
For most people, an acute upper respiratory infection is an annoying illness that will go away on
its own. Many people have a good idea of what they have and take care of themselves at home.
However, if you are unsure if you have an upper respiratory infection or if you feel you may be
developing more serious complications, it is a good idea to call a doctor right away.
Most treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms rather than their underlying cause. Depending
on your symptoms, you may find relief with the use of a cough suppressant, nasal
decongestant, or analgesics to reduce fever, aches, and pains. Inhaling steam, using a
humidifier, or gargling salt water may also offer some relief.
How PlushCare Works
1. Video chat with a doctor and send in pictures of your rash. 2. The doctor can tell you what the
rash is, and prescribe any needed medicines. 3. Pick up your prescription at your pharmacy,
and even get a signed doctor's note for school or work.