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What are the Most Common Respiratory Infections?

As the weather gets colder and winter approaches, families are much more concerned about respiratory infections. This time of year is commonly referred to as “flu season,” and although we don’t always think of the flu as a respiratory infection, that’s exactly what it is! The nose, lungs and throat are what the influenza virus attacks, and these are three of the main components of your respiratory system.

Besides the flu, there are many other respiratory infections that seem to come into play this time of year (although they can occur during any season). So what are some of those common respiratory infections, and what be said in the way of treatment?

1. Influenza

We all know this one, and the vast majority of us have contracted the flu at one time or another. The virus is still responsible for thousands of deaths each year, although it’s not at all life-threatening in most cases. In most cases, flu resolves on its own within a few days or weeks, with bed rest being the most widely prescribed treatment. There are really no medicines that make the flu “hurry up and run its course,” and it’s a widespread myth that antibiotics will be effective in combating flu, since antibiotics fight bacterial infections and not viruses.

2. Laryngitis

This is an extremely common infection that is usually caused by a virus, and is therefore not treatable with antibiotics. Too much talking, singing or yelling can also cause this condition, which is essentially an inflamed voice box. Fortunately, even bad cases of laryngitis usually resolve on their own (much like flu) within a few days or weeks. In its viral form, laryngitis is definitely contagious. A lot of people don’t know this!

3. Bronchitis

This is another respiratory infection where a virus is usually the culprit. The bronchial tubes, which transport oxygen to the lungs and carry it away again) become inflamed. Clinics will rarely use lab testing to confirm this condition, and like several other respiratory infections, the only real treatment is to rest and wait for the body to heal on its own. This usually happens within a few days. A wet cough and shortness of breath are common symptoms, and they can usually be eased with over-the-counter remedies.

4. Common cold

There are millions of cases of the common cold every year in the United States, and there are many different types of virus that cause it. It might take a couple of weeks for the common cold to completely clear out of your system, and it’s often mistaken for other illnesses, such as flu. Congested sinuses, sneezing, and a runny nose are common symptoms. If fever is present (especially in kids), it might be time to take a trip to your local Family First urgent care center, conveniently located in either Oakhurst or Toms River. Treatments beyond over-the-counter remedies are rarely prescribed by doctors.

Keep your respiratory system in top form this winter!

By taking extra precautions when it comes to hygiene and keeping warm, it’s possible to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of respiratory illness in your home this winter. As always, the providers at Family First Urgent Care are here for you! Give us a visit, seven days a week in either Oakhurst or Toms River.

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