Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
The respiratory tract is divided into two categories based, which is based anatomy.
upper respiratory tract includes the mouth, nose, throat, larynx (voice
box), and trachea (windpipe). Upper respiratory infections are often
referred to as "colds."
The lower respiratory tract includes the bronchial tubes and the
lungs. Bronchitis and
pneumonia are infections of the lower respiratory tract.
The "common cold" is usually caused by a viral infection and treatment is
directed at managing symptoms while the body's own immune system fights the
infection. Common symptoms of an upper respiratory infection such as a cold
include a runny nose, post-nasal drip,
cough, and nasal congestion. If laryngitis develops (larynx=voice box + itis=inflammation),
the patient may lose their voice or become
It is often difficult to know the difference between an acute upper
respiratory infection and influenza (seasonal
or H1N1 flu). However, influenza tends to cause symptoms
and complaints that involve the entire body, including fever, chills, muscle
aches and pains, and general malaise or feeling poorly. Colds tend not to have
such broad body system involvement. If the health care practitioner is concerned about the
diagnosis of influenza (flu), antiviral medications may be prescribed. There are
no specific antiviral medications to treat the common cold.