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Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

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What is an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)?

Upper respiratory infection is one of the most commonly infected area in the body and is a common cause of childhood illness and adult discomfort. In fact, the average child has 6 to 12 upper respiratory infections per year. The most common upper respiratory infection is the common cold. Common symptoms of upper respiratory infection include a runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, cough, fever, muscle ache, fatigue, and loss of appetite and ear pain.

What Kinds of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections Are There?

Upper respiratory infection includes any infection in the nose, paranasal sinuses, throat, and ears. The respiratory airways of the trachea, bronchi and bronchioles as well as the lungs can also be affected during an upper respiratory infection. Upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses, bacteria and other pollutants from our surrounding environment.

Alternative Traditional Approaches to Healthy Respiratory Support*

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), practitioners believe that upper respiratory infections (URIs) are a sign that the body is in a state of imbalance and disharmony. Their goal in this situation is to support the body and encourage a return to a healthier state of balance and harmony. When in balance TCM practitioners believe the body will be better equipped to heal itself from the virus or bacteria causing the URI symptoms. In order to achieve this, they believe that one needs to provide the body and mind with stress reducing activities like detoxification, adequate clean water, effective herbal supplementation, healthy diet, exercise and other healthy and natural methods.*


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What are Upper respiratory tract infections, (URTI or URI)?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Upper respiratory tract infections, (URTI or URI), are the illnesses caused by an acute infection which involves the upper respiratory tract: nose, sinuses, pharynx or larynx.

Upper Respiratory Tract


Signs and symptoms of Upper Respiratory Infection

Acute upper respiratory tract infections include rhino-sinusitis (Common cold), sinusitis, pharyngitis/tonsillitisear infection, laryngitis and sometimes bronchitis. Symptoms of URTI's commonly include cough, sore throat, runny nose, blocked nose, phlegm, headache, fever, facial pressure and sneezing. Onset of the symptoms usually begins after 1-3 days after exposure to a microbial pathogen, most commonly a virus. The duration of the symptoms is typically 7 to 10 days but may persist longer.

Up to 15% of acute pharyngitis cases may be caused by bacteria, commonly Group A streptococcus in Streptococcal pharyngitis ("Strep Throat"). Generally, patients with strep throat start with a sore throat as their first symptom and usually do not have runny nose or cough or sneezing.

Pain and pressure of the ear caused by a middle ear infection (Otitis media) and the reddening of the eye caused by Viral Conjunctivitis are often associated with upper respiratory infections.

Influenza (the flu) is a more systemic illness which can also involve the upper respiratory tract.


Treatment of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

Judicious use of antibiotics can decrease unnecessary adverse effects of antibiotics as well as out-of-pocket costs to the patient. But more importantly, decreased antibiotic usage will prevent the rise of drug resistant bacteria, which is now a growing problem in the world. Health authorities have been strongly encouraging physicians to decrease the prescribing of antibiotics to treat common upper respiratory tract infections because antibiotic usage does not significantly reduce recovery time for these viral illnesses.[1]

Some have advocated a delayed antibiotic approach to treating URIs which seeks to reduce the consumption of antibiotics while attempting to maintain patient satisfaction. Most studies show no difference in improvement of symptoms between those treated with antibiotics right away and those with delayed prescriptions.[2] Most studies also show no difference in patient satisfaction, patient complications, symptoms between delayed and no antibiotics. It should be noted that a strategy of "no antibiotics" results in even less antibiotic use than a strategy of "delayed antibiotics". Until more effective treatments are available to treat the common respiratory viruses responsible for the majority of cases, treatment of URIs with rest, increased fluids, and symptomatic care with over-the-counter medications will remain the treatment of choice. However, in certain higher risk patients with underlying lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), evidence does exist to support the treatment of URIs with antibiotics to shorten the course of illness and decrease treatment failure.[3]

The use of Vitamin C in the inhibition and treatment of upper respiratory infections has been suggested since the initial isolation of vitamin C in the 1930s. Several studies have failed to demonstrate that vitamin C supplementation reduces the incidence of colds in the normal healthy population, indicating that routine large dose prophylaxis with Vitamin C is not beneficial in widespread community usage. Some evidence exists to indicate that it could be justified in persons exposed to brief periods of severe physical exercise and/or cold environments. The evidence does not support the use of Vitamin C at the onset of colds as effective therapy.[4]


URTI References

  1. Reveiz L, Cardona AF, Ospina EG (2007). "Antibiotics for acute laryngitis in adults". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2): CD004783. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004783.pub3. PMID 17443555
  2. Spurling GK, Del Mar CB, Dooley L, Foxlee R (2007). "Delayed antibiotics for respiratory infections". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3): CD004417. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004417.pub3. PMID 17636757
  3. Ram FS, Rodriguez-Roisin R, Granados-Navarrete A, Garcia-Aymerich J, Barnes NC (2006). "Antibiotics for exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2): CD004403. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004403.pub2. PMID 16625602
  4. Douglas RM, Hemilä H, Chalker E, Treacy B (2007). "Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3): CD000980. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub3. PMID 17636648
  • Park, David J. "Evidence Based Approach to Upper Respiratory Infections." December 10, 2006. Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine


External links to URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) Information


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. TCM is an acronym for Traditional Chinese Medicine.

**The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only, not intended to replace your doctor's or other health care professional's advice or treatment. Nor is any information contained on or in any product label or packaging intended to provide or replace professional health care advice. Do not use the this site's information for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem, nor for prescription of any treatment or medication. Always consult with a healthcare professional before undertaking any diet, exercise, herbal or other supplementation program, taking any medications, or if you suspect you may have or already have any type of health problem. Do not stop taking any medication without first consulting your doctor.