• Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

 Are illnesses caused by an infection of the upper respiratory tract such as the nose, throat, trachea, larynx, sinuses, and the air passages going to the lungs.  This include common cold (rhinitis), tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils), tracheitis (inflammation of the trachea), pharyngitis (sore throat), laryngitis (inflammation of the voice box), sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), and sometimes bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchi). WHAT CAUSES IT?  Most URTIs are caused by viruses. These types of viruses are very contagious and the diseases are spread by direct contact, such as hand shaking, sharing of food/drink and kissing. Transmission can also be through sneezing and coughing. A virus can be transmitted from the hands to the upper respiratory tract by touching the nose, eyes, or mouth. WHO GETS IT?  People are affected when their immune system is not functioning well and mostly they experience a minimum of two colds per year. Children tend to get more URTIs than adults. WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?  Headache  Runny nose  Fever  Cough  Sore throat  Nasal Congestion  Malaise  Itchy, watery eyes  Muscle pain  Sneezing  Body fatigue, weakness  Facial pressure HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?  The disease is diagnosed according to the type and duration of symptoms. Cold symptoms that last for months are not caused by sinus problems but may actually be allergy related. WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?  Rest and have plenty of fluids  Gargling with salt water may relieves sore throat  A steaming soup helps relieve nasal congestion  Voice rest is the best treatment for laryngitis  Decongestants may relieve a bunged-up nose  Paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen reduces fever and ease pains  Antibiotics are given only when the cause of symptoms is bacterial WHAT SYMPTOMS SHOULD I WATCH FOR?

 Most URTIs clear without complications. Sometimes, the infection goes to the lungs cause pneumonia. Consult a doctor if any of the following occur:  If fever, headaches or wheezing becomes worse  If there is fast breathing, shortness of breath, chest pains, or coughing up of blood  If there is drowsiness or confusion  If a cough persist for more than 3-4 weeks  If there is a recurring bouts of URTIs PREVENTION  Hand washing is the best preventive measures  Keep mucous membranes moist with petroleum jelly around the nose  Avoid touching the nose, eyes and mouth which will cause spread of virus  Vitamin C in brief periods of severe physical exercise, and/or cold environments  Influenza is preventable by vaccination.

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