Upper Respiratory Infection
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Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are the 2nd most common medical diagnosis, contributing to ~20 million/year office visits.
- Inflammation of nasal passages resulting from infection with various respiratory viruses
- Most cases are self-treated.
- Usually mild–moderate severity, self-limited
- System(s) affected: ENT; Pulmonary
- Each virus has different seasonal peaks (e.g., rhinovirus: Late spring, fall)
- Cold climates do not increase susceptibility.
- Hand contact with contaminated skin/surface followed by contact with mucous membranes
- Aerosolized particles from sneezing and coughing
- Viral shedding peaks after 48–72 hours of illness and can last up to 2 weeks.
- Virus may last up to 2 hours on skin or longer on environmental surfaces.
- Predominant age: Children > Adults:
- Preschool children: 6–10 colds/year
- Kindergarten: 12/year
- Schoolchildren: 7/year
- Adolescents/Adults: 2–4/year
- Predominant sex: Male = Female
- Exposure to infected people
- Allergic disorders
Rhinoviruses infect the ciliated epithelium lining the nose, resulting in edema and hyperemia of nasal mucous membranes.
- 1/200 virus strains from different virus families; many strains present within the same geographic region or patient family:
- Rhinovirus, with >100 serotypes: 30–50%
- Influenzavirus types A, B, C: 15%
- Coronaviruses: 15%
- Parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): 10%; more common in children
- Enteroviruses, adenoviruses: <10%
- In 30% of cases, no pathogen is identified.
Commonly Associated Conditions
- Otitis media