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Upper Respiratory Infection (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care for Upper Respiratory Infection

Most patients with acute upper respiratory infections will have a self-limited illness with symptoms resolving in a few days. Depending upon circumstances and symptom progression, some patients should seek medical care.

  • Fever, chills, and shortness of breath are not commonly seen with upper respiratory infections and may signal a potentially more significant infection such as influenza, pneumonia, or acute bronchitis.
  • Patients who are pregnant, under 2 years of age, or who have underlying illnesses such as asthma or emphysema should seek medical care if they experience shortness of breath.
  • Nausea, vomiting, anddiarrhea are not usually associated with an acute upper respiratory infection; however, further evaluation by a health care practitioner may be necessary if these symptoms occur.
  • Although infants often catch colds, babies less than three months of age who develop fever should be seen immediately by a health care practitioner because their immune system is not yet fully developed and other infections may be present.
  • Patients who are immuno-compromised due to medications or illness should contact their health care practitioner if they develop a fever, even if it seems to be due to an upper respiratory infection.
  • Most colds resolve within a week. If symptoms persist, it may be an indication to seek medical evaluation.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/12/2016

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