Upper Respiratory Infection (cont.)
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Upper Respiratory Infection Treatment
Self-Care at Home
The treatment of upper respiratory infections often is directed at symptom control while the body fights the virus causing the infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses and are usually not prescribed unless the health care practitioner believes that a bacterial infection is present in addition to the cold.
Home remedies and OTC medication
Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, which also moistens the nose and sinus membranes.
An air humidifier to keep the air moist will assist in keeping the nose and sinus membranes moist. However, use caution to avoid scalding burns due to hot water when humidifying air. Cool mist humidifiers may be a better option.
Aspirin should not be used in children or teenagers because of the risk of Reye's syndrome.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications should not be used in infants and children because of their lack of effectiveness in controlling symptoms and the potential for significant side effects.
For infants with stuffy noses, saline nose drops used with a bulb syringe may be helpful in clearing the nasal passages.
Over-the-counter cold medications should be used with caution is adults as well. These preparations may contain multiple active ingredients that can increase blood pressure, cause heart palpitations, and promote sleepiness. Alcohol is one of the active ingredients in many OTC cold medications.
Read the labels before taking any medications and discuss any questions or concerns with a pharmacist or health care practitioner in regard to potential side effects.
Alternative treatments such as vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc have been used by some individuals; however, their benefits have not been scientifically proven.
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