Upper respiratory infection
BRADY HEALTH CENTER
UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTION
An upper respiratory infection (U.R.I.) is a viral infection of the respiratory system. Many different viruses can
cause a U.R.I. This is another name for the “common cold”.
of U.R.I. include one or more of the following:
* nasal congestion
Symptoms usually peak around day 3-4 and begin to get better by day 7. If your symptoms last longer than 1 week
or become worse, see a health care provider. TREATMENT
of U.R.I. is aimed at reducing the intensity of the symptoms to help you feel more comfortable
while your body fights off the virus. ANTIBIOTICS ARE NOT effective against the viruses which cause U.R.I.
The ingredients listed below are found in many cold medications and may relieve some of your symptoms. Read
as many over-the-counter (OTC) products contain multiple ingredients.
relieve aches and pains and reduce fever. Recommendations: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 500
mg. 2 tabs every 4-6 hours as needed or Ibuprofen 200 mg. 2 tabs every 4-6 hours as needed. Other examples: Naproxen (Aleve). Note: Many combination products contain these analgesics so read labels to avoid accidentally taking too much of these.
are available that may help relieve nasal congestion and blocked stuffy ears.
o Oral Decongestants:
Recommendations: Pseudoephedrine HCl (Sudafed) 30 mg 2 tabs every 4-6
hours as needed. Restrictions have been placed on the sale of any product containing pseudoephedrine so you will need to ask the pharmacist and sign a log book at the time of purchase. Other examples: phenylephrine ( Sudafed PE).
o Nasal Decongestants
such as Afrin or Neo-Synephrine nasal sprays. Do not use more than 3 days
are helpful for runny nose, particularly if associated with allergies, but are not effective in
relieving nasal congestion. Examples of non-sedating antihistamines are Loratadine (Claritin) & Zyrtec (both OTC).
combinations may be effective for runny nose as well as nasal congestion.
Examples: Claritin-D & Zyrtec-D (both OTC). The older, sedating antihistamine/decongestant
combination have also been found to be effective in controlling cough associated with URI, but may cause drowsiness. These products may contain a combination of chlorpheniramine & pseudoephedrine.
• Antitussives (Cough Suppressants)
such as dextromethorphan may be helpful, particularly at bedtime to
help with rest. Example: Delsym (OTC). Expectorant/Antitussive
combinations may also be helpful.
Examples: Robitussin-DM and Mucinex-DM (OTC).
such as guaifenesin help thin mucus so it can be coughed up more easily. Example:
combinations may also be helpful. Example: Mucinex-D (OTC).
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO TREAT YOUR COLD SYMPTOMS:
REST – limit your physical activity; rest when you feel tired. You can attend class.
FLUIDS – drink at least 6-8 glasses of fluid daily. Increased fluid intake thins body secretions and promotes drainage from your nasal passages and chest. Fluids also are important if you have a fever because fever can dry up your body’s fluids. Fruit juices and clear soups are also useful.
4. EAT WELL-BALANCED MEALS. 5. STOP SMOKING and avoid secondhand smoke. This increases your secretion production. 6. INCREASE HUMIDITY- inhaling moist air helps sooth inflamed mucous membranes in your respiratory passages. You can increase humidity in your room or home by using a cool mist humidifier or placing a pan of water on the radiator. A hot shower can also provide the humidity you need. 7. GARGLE with warm salt water a few times a day to relieve sore throat. Throat sprays or
8. SALINE NOSE DROPS help loosen mucus and moisten the tender skin in your nose. WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE:
Return to the health center or see a health care provider if you have any
of the following:
* Fever over 100° not responding to analgesics or lasting longer than 48 hours
* Sore throat longer than 3 days
* Chest pain, wheezing, shortness of breath
* Coughing up green or bloody mucous
* Tonsils enlarged with white spots on them
* Ear or face pain
* Swollen glands on sides of neck or back of neck
* History of asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy or rheumatic fever
* Cold symptoms for longer than 4-7 days or not responding to current medications PREVENTION
Although there is no specific way to prevent U.R.I., you can maintain your body’s resistance to infection by
eating well balanced meals, getting adequate rest, exercising and managing your stress. Other ways to prevent
spread of colds include washing your hands and avoid close contact with people who have a cold.
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