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Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URI)

An upper respiratory tract infection (URI) is a bacterial or viral infection of the nose, sinuses, or throat. Common symptoms of a URI are a runny or stuffy nose and a cough.

Examples of URIs include influenza (flu), a cold, and sinusitis.

Treatment for a URI is based on whether a doctor suspects it is caused by a bacteria or virus. If the cause is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are used. If the cause is a viral infection, home treatment is used, such as getting extra rest and drinking plenty of liquids.

Frequent hand-washing, especially during cold or flu season, can help prevent URIs. People should also try to avoid using their hands to wipe their eyes, nose, or mouth. Avoiding smoking can also help.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
Current as of July 10, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 10, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.