How to Identify Upper Respiratory Infection Symptoms

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Upper respiratory symptoms appear in all age groups and at any time of the year. During the winter, it is more common to be sick with an upper respiratory infection because people stay inside and are more easily infected by others. Because the respiratory tract involves a large part of the body, what you are infected with could be one of many illnesses. The other thing to consider is that a cough or sore throat may be just a simple cold or it may be something more. Only your doctor can diagnose what you have, so see her if you are not sure or if your symptoms are severe.

Congestion. A stuffy nose, blocked nasal passages, and mucous in your throat.

Phlegm. When you cough, green, yellow, or white mucous is expelled. In extreme cases, the mucous can be tinged with blood.

Nasal drainage. Clear with allergies. Brown, yellow or green with infections and viruses. Nosebleeds can occur if the nose is irritated.

Cough. This can be due to nasal and sinus drainage down the back of your throat, a sore throat, or phlegm in your chest. Can also be deep, sound like a bark (especially in young children), and become worse when lying down.

Fever. It can be mild and low grade or spike at levels of 102-104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sore throat. A red, irritated throat quite possibly with swollen glands on the sides of the neck. Hurts to swallow.

Headache. Pain in the frontal lobe or on the sides of the head. Throbbing grows worse with activity.

Fatigue. Low or no energy.

Difficulty breathing. Unable to draw air into the lungs. May have difficulty during inspiration (taking air in) or expiration (blowing air out), or in rare cases, both. If you cannot breathe, call 911 immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • Upper respiratory infection symptoms include a wide range of illnesses. If you are not sure what you have or if you are not getting better after the first few days, see a doctor.
  • If your symptoms are severe or you experience difficulty breathing, contact your physician or go to an emergency room.

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