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How Does a Patient Get an Upper Respiratory Infection?

Upper respiratory infections are more commonly referred to as the common cold and it’s something that every person will face in their lifetime. In fact, adults suffer from an average of 2-3 upper respiratory infections each year and children see even higher numbers! Winter and early spring are the peak season for colds, but they can happen any time of year. Whenever you’re suffering from the unpleasant illness you might find yourself wondering, how did you catch it in the first place? 

Causes of upper respiratory infection

Upper respiratory infections are caused by bacteria that enter the body through the nose, eyes, or mouth. You can also be exposed to the bacteria in the air if you’re in close contact with a sick person and they sneeze or cough, putting small mucus membranes into the air. A cold or upper respiratory infection can only occur if you’ve been exposed to the bacteria that causes it. Claims that cold weather causes the illness are outdated and untrue.

Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection

The symptoms of an upper respiratory infection include: 

  • Sinus pain and pressure
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Throat irritation and coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches 

Young children might also suffer from a low-grade fever. 

Treatment for Infections

Treating an upper respiratory infection begins at home with plenty of fluids and rest. You can also utilize a humidifier to help keep the air moist, and over the counter decongestants or cold medicines. Your symptoms should last no longer than 2 weeks. If your symptoms continue past 2 weeks, you’re suffering from a fever for more than 3 days, or you feel your symptoms are getting worse, you should visit a local urgent care center for professional treatment and diagnosis. 

Preventing an Upper Respiratory Infection

Since upper respiratory infections are caused by direct contact with bacteria, there are multiple things you can do to reduce your risk! Begin by practicing good hand hygiene. This means washing your hands frequently and thoroughly throughout the day. If you don’t have time to wash your hands, hand sanitizer can be used until you get the time. You should always remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow and encourage those around you to do the same. Avoid touching your face with your hands, especially when you’re at work or school. 

For more information about treating your upper respiratory infection and preventing more in the future, give your local urgent care a call or just stop in whenever you’ve got time!