Tis’ the season for those dreaded respiratory infections that can make you
feel just awful. The peak months for respiratory infections is typically between the months of September and March. These are the months when we are spending less time outdoors and spending more time indoors with other people.
The incidence of respiratory infections is quite staggering. Children can have 6 to 8 upper respiratory infections in a year (especially those in daycare settings), and adults can experience 2 to 4 respiratory infections in a year. What is worse is that the symptoms related to upper respiratory infections can last for 2 to 3 weeks.
Many upper respiratory infections are viral in nature, and as we know, there is little that can be done to eradicate a virus. Viruses simply run their course and in their own time. What we can do, however, is treat the symptoms of the infection to lessen the misery.
The symptoms of a typical upper respiratory infection include sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion and drainage, sore throat, eye burning and eye tearing, fatigue, muscle aches and pains, low-grade fever, hoarseness, headaches, and chills (FPnotebook.com, n.d.). While these symptoms are irritating and miserable, they cannot be managed with antibiotics (unless there is some underlying condition that puts an individual at greater risk for complications).
Some remedies for symptom management can include acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and aches/pains, nasal saline to help with congestion, cough suppressants/decongestants to minimize a cough, throat drops for sore throat pain, and cool mist humidification to loosen nasal discharge. Equally important is washing your hands often (to prevent the spread of germs), drinking plenty of fluids to keep hydrated, and getting plenty of rest. The body does its’ best healing when you are asleep.
Of course, it is never wise to self-diagnose so when in doubt, contact your primary care provider and we can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and together we can help you formulate a treatment plan that best suits your needs.