Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

Acute high fever normally points towards some kind of infection, be it viral or bacterial. Next, one looks for the possible site of infection. Symptoms given by the patient hint towards it.

If sore throat is present, an involvement of upper respiratory tract especially pharynx is suspected. Common bacterial infection of the area are  streptococcal and monococcal infections. Another possibility is that of viral infection becomes higher. Though the possibility of other bacteria like hemophilus and mycoplasma is also there, viral infections are much more common. Waves of high temperature may imply a release of viral or bacterial products in the blood stream, which may occur at different times.

Infections cause the majority of sore throats and are contagious. Infections are caused either by viruses such as the flu, the common cold, mononucleosis, or by bacteria such as strep, mycoplasma, or hemophilus. Most viral sore throats accompany flu or colds along with a stuffy, runny nose, sneezing, and generalized aches and pains. These viruses are highly contagious and spread quickly. The body builds antibodies that destroy the virus, a process that takes about a week. While bacteria respond to antibiotic treatment, viruses do not. Infections in the nose and sinuses also can cause sore throats, because mucus from the nose drains down into the throat and carries the infection with it.

Penicillin or erythromycin are prescribed when one suspects streptococcal or another bacterial infection that responds to them. However, a number of bacterial throat infections require other antibiotics instead. Antibiotics do not cure viral infections, but viruses do lower the patient’s resistance to bacterial infections. When such a combined infection occurs, antibiotics may be recommended.

Treatment

A mild sore throat associated with cold or flu symptoms can be made more comfortable with the following remedies: 
  1. Increase your liquid intake.
  2. Warm tea with honey is a favorite home remedy.
  3. Use a steamer or humidifier in your bedroom.
  4. Gargle with warm salt water several times daily: Half a tsp. salt to a cup of water.
  5. Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol Sore Throat, Tempra).
Normally, viral infection improves on its own within 7-10 days. If you do not feel any improvement by that time, then your doctor should consider starting you on antibiotics like augmentin or azithromycin.

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