ZocdocAnswersWhat is an upper respiratory infection?

Question

What is an upper respiratory infection?

I've read that one of the medications I'm taking puts me at a higher risk for upper respiratory infection. What does this mean? I have had a stuffy nose for a while, and I'm not sure if that's included. Exactly what kind of ""infection"" are we talking about?

Answer

An upper respiratory infection is, basically, the common cold or one of several other related infections. Therefore, the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection include nasal congestion, runny nose (rhinorrhea), cough, and itchy or sore throat. It is unlikely that an isolated stuffy nose is an upper respiratory infection in the absence of the other symptoms described above. There are however several other causes of isolated nasal congestion that are possible and that should be investigated because medical treatments are available. For example, nasal allergies, or allergic rhinitis, is very common and can be treated with antihistamines and nasal steroids. Similarly, sinusitis, caused by fluid buildup in the sinus, can present with nasal congestion, facial pressure or pain, and a sensation of fullness in the cheeks or behind the nose and eyes. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor is advised.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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