Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

URTIs are among the most causes of doctor visits globally. URTI is a common viral infection that is caused by an acute infection that affects the upper respiratory tract, including the throat, nose, sinuses, larynx, and pharynx.
Common infections of the upper respiratory tract include sore throat, tonsillitis, nasal obstruction, otitis media, laryngitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, and common cold, among others. In most cases, an upper respiratory tract infection clears within seven to 10 days.

While some infections can clear on their own, it’s important to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Alamo City Urgent Care Center offers upper respiratory tract infection treatment.

Causes of Upper Respiratory Tract infections

URTIs are caused by a direct invasion of the airway by viruses or bacteria. According to research, there are over 200 common cold viruses that are to blame for upper respiratory infections. They can be passed from one person to the other through;

  • Airborne respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • Coming into contact with a contaminated surface like a doorknob and then touching the nose, eyes, or mouth
  • Sharing foods and drinks
  • Kissing
  • Skin-to-skin contact with an infected person

Other factors that increase the risk of contracting these infections include;

  • Having an autoimmune disorder
  • Crowded places such as bus stations
  • Removal of tonsils or adenoids
  • Smoking / secondhand smoke
  • Nasal cavity damage
  • Visiting a hospital or clinic
  • Old age

If you are suspecting that you have contracted an Upper Respiratory Tract infection, kindly visit an urgent care near you for proper testing and treatment.

Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Tract infections

Common symptoms of URTIs include;

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion or discharge
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Malaise
  • Pain swallowing
  • Low-grade fever – common among children
  • Nasal breathing
  • Coughing

Rare symptoms include;

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Sinus pain
  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Foul breath
  • Headaches
  • Reduced ability to smell

With rest and proper medication, symptoms will resolve within 3 to 14 days. Medical experts recommend that you consult a doctor if symptoms last for more than 14 days.

Persistent symptoms may be caused by serious respiratory conditions which may require immediate medical treatment. These include;

  • Asthma
  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia
  • H1N1 flu
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Acute HIV infection
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Bronchitis

Alamo City Urgent Care Center offers diagnosis and urgent care in San Antonio for respiratory-related infections.

Treatment of Upper respiratory tract infections

Since most upper URTIs are self-diagnosable, most people often self-diagnose and treat their symptoms without seeking professional medical advice. Besides, most of these infections are self-limiting, meaning that they clear on their own spontaneously.

Since infants and the elderly have a higher risk of complications, they should seek immediate medical attention. Similarly, seek immediate urgent care near you if experience;

  • Worsening breathing difficulties or shortness of breath
  • Recurring URTIs
  • Persistent or severe symptoms
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Persistent high fever
  • Significant dehydration
  • Blue or pale fingertips or skin
  • Prolonged respiratory illness
  • Light-headedness, nausea, and dizziness

In rare cases, hospitalization may be necessary, especially for children below 2 years and elderly people with underlying immune-related medical conditions such as Dementia. For urgent respiratory illness, you can visit Alamo City Urgent Care, San Antonio urgent care clinic for immediate treatment and care.

If you self-treat your condition but don’t see an improvement in three days, you should visit a medical center for proper treatment and medication. Common medications for Upper Respiratory Tract infections include;

  • Acetaminophen for fever and body aches
  • Antihistamines for nasal congestions and secretions
  • Nonsteroids such as ibuprofen for fever and body aches
  • Nasal ipratropium for nasal secretions
  • Dextromethorphan, codeine, and Robitussin for cough

Some of these medications may present allergic reactions or side effects on certain people. It’s therefore important to consult a doctor before using such medications.

Home remedies for Upper Respiratory Tract infections

  • Enough rest
  • Increased intake of oral fluids
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice or tea


With proper medication and rest, upper respiratory tract infection will resolve within a few days. Luckily, some infections even don’t require medical treatment, they can resolve on their own after a few days.

However, it’s also important to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. You can visit Alamo City Urgent Care Center for immediate treatment and care if you are worried that you or any of your family members have contracted a URTI.