An upper respiratory infection, also called a URI, is an infection of the nose, sinuses, or throat. Viruses or bacteria can cause URIs. Colds, the flu, and sinusitis are examples of URIs. These infections are spread by coughs, sneezes, and close contact.
You may need antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics do not help viral infections. But you can treat most infections with home care. This may include drinking lots of fluids and taking over-the-counter pain medicine. You will probably feel better in 4 to 10 days.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 25, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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