Upper Respiratory Infection

Acute infections involving the mouth, nose, sinuses, and larynx (voice box) are categorized as upper respiratory infections. Inflammation associated with these infections is referred to as tonsilitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, and laryngitis respectively.

Often called the "common cold", these illnesses are usually viral infections and are easily spread from person to person. An infected person can transmit the virus by touching their eyes, nose, mouth, or sneezing. Subsequent contact with a door knob, pen, credit card, computer keyboard, etc. transmits the virus. The virus can live up to two hours on these surface. An uninfected person touching these surfaces, comes in contact with the virus, and gains the potential of becoming infected.

Covering sneezes and coughs, frequent hand wash and disinfecting known contaminated surfaces are good preventative measures.

As the body's immune system is weakened, bacterial infections may occur. Sudden onset of a sore throat may indicate a strep infection, an earache may indicate otitis media (ear infection), and reddening of the eye may indicate conjuctivitis. Bacterial infections can be serious and should be treated immediately.

Your doctor will advise medications to help relieve discomfort. Where bacterial infections are involved an antibiotic may be prescribed.


Coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort, wheezing, breathlessness, low grade fever, chills, runny nose, difficulty breathing, and fatigue

When to See a Doctor

See your doctor if you have severe or persistent symptoms, or a high fever.

Seek emergency medical care of you have trouble breathing or have chest pain.

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