Respiratory infections often begin with a viral infection in your nose, windpipe or lungs. Left untreated, infection can spread to the entire respiratory system.

Viruses spread easily from one person to another. They can be passed through sneezing, contact and sometimes inhalation. Anyone can get a respiratory infection. Children, older adults and people with weak immune systems are especially at risk.

Infections are categorized into upper respiratory infections and lower respiratory infections. The most common lower respiratory infections are pneumonia and bronchitis, which can be viral or bacterial.

Upper respiratory infections include the common cold, sinusitis, croup, pharyngitis and epiglottitis.

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What are the symptoms of respiratory infection?

Symptoms of a lower respiratory infection including pneumonia may include fever, trouble breathing and a productive cough.

How are respiratory infections treated?

While you can generally treat common colds at home, other infections may need antibiotics. Lower respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis are very serious.

If you have symptoms that don’t seem to go away, seek care at your local CareNow® urgent care right away.

Also note, antibiotics shouldn’t be used to treat a common cold. You can take over-the-counter decongestant medicine and pain relievers to help relieve aches and pains.

You can generally treat common cold symptoms at home with:

  • Resting
  • Drinking lots of fluids
  • Eating ginger, garlic and honey (don’t give honey to a child younger than 1)
  • Taking echinacea
  • Taking vitamin C
  • Using vapor rub
  • Using humidity or steam
  • Gargling salt water
  • Consuming probiotics
  • Taking warm baths (Epsom salt and baking soda will reduce aches)

Regularly disinfect hands, toys, doorknobs and other commonly used things to help you avoid viruses that cause some respiratory infections.

CareNow® Can Help

If you or your child has symptoms that don’t go away, visit your nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic for diagnosis and treatment.

You can also wait from the comfort of your home before your visit with our Web Check-In® feature.

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