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Upper Respiratory Infection (cont.)

Upper Respiratory Infection Causes

People "catch" colds when they come into contact with airborne viruses. Most often, the virus spreads from person to person in respiratory droplets from sneezing or coughing. Transmission of viruses can also spread due to poor hand washing techniques as the virus can be passed from person to person by coming in contact with respiratory droplets from an infected person with a handshake, touching the nose, eyes, or mouth after coming in contact with the virus. Some viruses can live on surfaces such as sink faucets, door and drawer handles, table surfaces, pens, and computer keyboards for up to two hours.

People should understand that upper respiratory infections are contagious and are spread from person to person. Individuals are infected with the virus before symptoms arise and are therefore potentially contagious even before they know they are ill. Thus, hygienic measures such as covering sneezes and coughs, and regular hand washing should be a routine habit practiced by everyone even when not ill.

Rhinovirus (rhino from the Greek word for nose) and coronavirus are the two most common viruses causing upper respiratory infections. Other viruses including parainfluenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and adenovirus can cause colds but may also cause pneumonia, especially in infants and children.

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