Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI)

Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI)

URTI is an acronym for upper respiratory tract infection, an infection involving structures and organs between the lips and nostrils and the lower end of the trachea. The infection may be caused by a bacteria, virus (cause 90% of URTI) or fungus. Tonsillitis, epiglottitis, glandular fever, sinusitis and the common cold can all be considered as different types of URTI.

Upper respiratory tract infections occur many times a year in everyone. Fortunately, most patients are able to destroy the infecting agent within a few days, or even hours, by using the body’s natural defence mechanisms. The majority of these infections are so mild that they are barely noticed, but when the defence system is overwhelmed by the disease, a doctor’s assistance is necessary.

Unless there is severe pain or a high fever, it is reasonable to leave most attacks of URTI for a couple of days before seeing a doctor, but if the symptoms persist, appropriate help should be sought so that the victim can avoid discomfort and return to work or school as rapidly as possible.

Allergy reactions such as hay fever, can sometimes be confused with an URTI.

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