I can’t breathe! My nose is so stuffy, my throat hurts and I have an annoying cough. Do I need to see a doctor?
One of the most common things we see in urgent care centers are upper respiratory infections. Here is a little more information on it’s symptoms, treatment and when to see your friendly Doc or Physician’s Assistant at In and Out Express Care!
What is an upper respiratory infection?
It is an illness which involves the upper respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, pharynx or larynx). This illness is caused by an acute infection. Most infections are viral in nature but it can also be bacterial. The common cold, sinusitis, sore throat, tonsillitis and middle ear infections are all examples of upper respiratory infections.
What are the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection?
Symptoms include but are not limited to stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, headache, fever, sinus pressure and sneezing. A yellow or green mucous discharge is often present and does not necessarily mean you need antibiotics. It’s your body trying to fend off the infection. Reddening of the eyes and pain/pressure in the ear are also associated with upper respiratory infections. Symptoms may persist for two weeks or more.
Am I Contagious?
Yes. Upper respiratory infections are spread from person to person by inhaling respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. You can also spread the infection by touching door knobs, phones, etc with unwashed hands thereby passing it on to family members or others.
What are the most common places upper respiratory infections are found?
Day care centers, schools, gyms and offices are the most common places this illness is contracted. The best protection is to wash your hands frequently.
Do I need to see a doctor?
Often, an upper respiratory infection will resolve itself. Tylenol for aches, pains and fever is indicated. Patients should stay well hydrated. However, if symptoms persist you should seek medical attention.
Patients who are pregnant, under 2 years of age or anyone with an underlying illness like asthma should seek immediate medical care if they experience shortness of breath.
Patients with compromised immune systems should seek medical attention if they develop a fever.
Antibiotics are not always the best treatment and their overuse is leading to lack of efficacy of antibiotics in common illnesses. Please be aware of this when seeking medical attention.
In and Out Express Care’s about you!