What is An Upper Respiratory Infection?

An upper respiratory infection, or a URI, is a common illness that’s caused by bacteria. URI’s are very common and adults can suffer from 2-3 per year on average. URI’s are typically not a big deal and are able to clear on their own with home treatment, but sometimes they lead to further infection and bacteria growth that requires prescription treatment.  

Symptoms of an Upper Respiratory Infection

Upper respiratory infections affect your nasal passages and throat, although you might notice symptoms throughout your body, such as fatigue. In addition to fatigue, look out for these symptoms: 

  • Sinus pain and congestion
  • Runny nose 
  • Sneezing 
  • Pressure behind your eyes
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore or scratchy throat that may cause coughing 

Upper respiratory infections do not typically cause fevers, but they can in young children with weaker immune systems. 


The best way to prevent an upper respiratory infection is to prevent coming in contact with the bacteria that causes them, but that’s easier said than done! Start by practicing good hygiene, especially when you’re at work or school. Wash your hands regularly throughout the day and encourage your children to do the same. Each hand washing session should last as long as it takes to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice in your head.

Try to avoid touching your hands to your face when you’re out in public. If you need to sneeze or cough, do so into your elbow rather than the palm of your hand. It’s always recommended to avoid sharing things like drinking glasses and utensils that can easily carry bacteria from one person to the next. 


Most URI’s can be treated at home. Treat your symptoms using over the counter cough and cold medicines, pain relievers, and decongestants. Drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier to ensure you aren’t breathing dry air can also help relieve symptoms. If your symptoms last for more than 2 weeks or you begin to have a fever that lasts more than 3 days, it’s time to seek professional treatment for your symptoms. 

If you’re in need of professional treatment to manage your upper respiratory infection, visit a local urgent care center today! The experienced staff will help evaluate your symptoms and offer treatment methods that may not be available over the counter. Leaving your symptoms untreated for too long will only make them worse and may even lead to additional infections!