Respiratory tract infections are the several contagious diseases involving the respiratory tract. An infection of this kind is generally further divided into upper respiratory tract infection (URI or URTI) or a lower respiratory tract infection (LRI or LRTI). Lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia is likely to be far more serious conditions than upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold. The nose, sinuses, throat, and ears are the upper respiratory tract. Typical infections of the upper respiratory tract include tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, certain types of influenza, and the common cold. Symptoms of URIs can include cough, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, headache, low grade fever, facial pressure and sneezing. The lower respiratory tract consists of the trachea (wind pipe), bronchial tubes, the bronchioles, and the lungs. Lower respiratory tract infections are generally more serious than upper respiratory infections. LRIs are the primary cause of death among all infectious diseases. The two most common LRIs are bronchitis and pneumonia. Influenza affects both the upper and lower respiratory tracts.
What are the reasons for Respiratory tract infections?
The primary causes of upper and lower respiratory infections are viruses and bacteria. Generally, viruses affect the upper respiratory system, while they can affect the lungs also. Approximately, 200 viruses are responsible for respiratory tract infections. The infection is spread when viruses are conveyed from one person to another by sneezing, coughing or through personal contact. One may also become infected by handling objects that were touched by someone who is affected by URI.
Who are in great risk of getting respiratory tract infection?
A person is in great risk of getting infection if:
A person who works or lives in crowded atmosphere.
Poor hand washing.
A person with less immune system such as, HIV, organ transplant, congenital immune defects, long term steroid use.
A person with anatomical irregularities as in facial trauma, upper airway trauma.
What are the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection?
Usually, the symptoms of upper respiratory infection result from the pollutants discharged by the bacteria, viruses in addition to the provocative response increased by the immune system to battle the infection. I. General symptoms of upper respiratory infection are as follows:
Usually, the symptoms of upper respiratory infection last between 3-14 days. In case, if symptoms last longer than 14 days, an optional diagnosis, such as, sinusitis, allergy, pneumonia, or bronchitis can be performed.
What are the general over the counter medications for respiratory tract infection?
Most cases of upper respiratory infection are caused by viruses and hence, needs no particular treatment and are self-limited. In general, individual’s with upper respiratory infections diagnose themselves and treat their symptoms at home in the following ways:
Sometimes, You do not have access to view this node are used to treat upper respiratory infections if a bacterial infection is suspected or diagnosed. These conditions may include strep throat, bacterial sinusitis.
Some of the common over-the-counter medications used are: Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) are used for treating fever and body aches, Benadryl is helpful in reducing nasal secretions and congestions, topical Nasal ipratropium can be used to reduce nasal secretions, several cough medications such as dextromethorphan, guaifenesin (Robitussin), and codeine all are very helpful in reducing cough in upper respiratory infections, de-congestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) Actifed oral, phenylephrine (Neo-synephrine nasal) can be used to decrease nasal congestion.
Medications that combine all the above components are also generally available over the counter. A number of over-the-counter medicines, such as NyQuil, Comtrex have combination products in them.
Proper medical advice should be taken before using these medications, if a person has certain medical conditions.
What are some Home remedies?
Taking enough rest is essential in treating respiratory infections.
Sufficient intakes of oral fluids are also usually recommended to maintain the fluid loss from runny nose, fevers, and poor appetite associated with upper respiratory infections.
Salt water gurgles and pills may reduce throat irritation and dryness and can ease the symptoms of throat symptoms.
Applying a warm pack with a warm well towel or wash cloth to the face may also be used to treat symptoms of nasal congestion. This process can be repeated every few hours as needed to relieve to the symptoms.
Since, moist warm air can help soothe the oral and nasal passages that become more irritated with dry air making steam in shower by turning on the hot water and breathing the steamed air, drinking warm beverages, such as, hot tea, hot chocolate, warm milk, using a vaporizer to create humidity in the room and using nasal saline (salt water) are all very helpful.
Sufficient hydration with water, juices can thin nasal secretions and restore the fluid losses.
When to get proper medical care?
A person should visit a doctor in case of the following symptoms: