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.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.