Symptoms and Signs of Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Cure

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Cure

An infection of the upper respiratory tract can occur in the sinuses, nasal passages, pharynx, and larynx. Most cases of upper respiratory infection are caused by viruses, such as the common cold, and go away on their own with time. Infection with the influenza virus is another type of upper respiratory infection. Less commonly, bacterial infections like whooping cough or group A streptococcus (“strep throat”) may cause infections of the upper air spaces.

Depending on the site of the infection, upper respiratory infections can cause sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, inflammation of the tonsils, sinus headache, cough, and sneezing. Other possible associated symptoms can include fever, chills, lethargy, fatigue, loss of voice or hoarseness, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, watery eyes, bad breath, and body aches.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.