An upper respiratory infection is an infection of the sinuses, nasal passages, pharynx (the throat), or larynx (voice box). Common upper respiratory infections include rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal cavity), the common cold, sinus congestion and/or postnasal drip, pharyngitis, and laryngitis.
In the United States, upper respiratory infections are the most common illness leading to missing school or work, and are one of the most frequent causes of visits to healthcare providers. Although upper respiratory infections can happen at any time, they most frequently occur in fall and winter.
Common symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion and discharge, sneezing, sore/scratchy throat, cough, fatigue, and fever. Less common symptoms include reduced ability to smell, headache, shortness of breath, sinus pain, itchy and watery eyes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bad breath, and body aches. Symptoms usually last between 3 and 14 days.
Most cases of upper respiratory infection are caused by viruses and therefore do not benefit from antibiotics. The following self-care should be undertaken:
Visit Healthcare Clinic if your symptoms are more severe or you are at risk for complications.
This treatment is available at Healthcare Clinic locations for patients 18 months and older.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.