An upper respiratory infection (URI) is an infection of the nose, sinuses, or throat. Examples of URIs include colds, influenza (flu), and sinusitis. Common symptoms are a runny or stuffy nose and a cough.
Most URIs can be treated with home care. This may include drinking lots of fluids and taking over-the-counter pain medicine. Most people feel better in 4 to 10 days.
If a doctor suspects that a URI is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are prescribed. But almost all URIs are caused by viruses. Antibiotics don't kill viruses, so they won't help cure a viral infection.
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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