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A viral respiratory infection is an infection of the nose, sinuses, or throat caused by a virus. Colds and influenza (flu) are common types of viral respiratory infections.
The symptoms of a viral respiratory infection often start quickly. They include a fever, sore throat, and runny nose. You may also just not feel well. Or you may not want to eat much.
Most viral infections can be treated 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.
Antibiotics are not used to treat a viral infection. Antibiotics don't kill viruses, so they won't help cure a viral illness.
In some cases, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medicine to help your body fight a serious viral infection.
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 advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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 advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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