Upper Respiratory Infection – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

For an upper respiratory infection, infections enter the body through the mouth or the nose. This affects the nasal passages or the throat. You can transmit a URI by touch, through sneezing or coughing. Treatment for URIs is simple at the Urgent Care in Houston, TX, unless the patient has underlying conditions like asthma.

What is an Upper Respiratory Infection?

The URIs affect the upper respiratory tract, including the nasal passages, sinuses, pharynx, and larynx. These parts are responsible for directing the air we breathe in through the trachea to the lungs and back out.

Infections for specific parts of the tract are given different names. For example, rhinitis refers to an inflamed nasal cavity; sinusitis is a sinus infection, while pharyngitis affects the pharynx, uvula, and tonsils.

Upper respiratory infections cause people to see doctors for symptoms like having a runny nose, difficulty breathing, sore throat, and coughs. URIs are the leading cause for people missing work or school in the United States.

You can contract an upper respiratory infection anywhere, at any time, although they are mostly got from places where people gather as crowds, like in a classroom, office, or on the bus.

URIs last between 3 -14 days before they heal. In other cases, they develop into severe illnesses like pneumonia and sinusitis. That’s why it’s essential to visit the Houston urgent care clinic early for treatment.

Causes of URIs

Their leading cause is the direct invasion of the upper respiratory tract’s linings by a bacteria or virus. To invade the upper airways’ mucosal membrane, the culprit pathogens have to struggle through several immunological and physical defenses.

Your nose has a hair lining that is a physical barrier against invading organisms. The mucus in the interior nasal cavity also traps and engulfs bacteria and viruses, preventing them from going up the airways. The trachea also has hairlike structures called cilia which move foreign pathogens up the pharynx and are eventually swallowed into the stomach.

Apart from these intense physical defenses, the immune system plays a vital role in preventing bacterial spread. Adenoids and tonsils in the upper airways effectively help to fight organisms. They have special antibodies and chemicals in the lymph nodes that engulf unwanted microbes and destroy them before they advance.

Regardless of these intense defenses, the bacteria and viruses have their own mechanisms for resisting destruction. They release toxins that can impair the body’s defense systems, so they do not work correctly.

Therefore, whenever you have a slight upper tract infection, visit a walk-in-clinic near you for immediate treatment.

Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections have common symptoms that result from pathogenic toxins release. They generally include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal discharge – ranging from clear to whitish-green
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Cough
  • Malaise
  • Low-grade fever – especially in children

Other less common symptoms are:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinus pain
  • Foul breath
  • Low smell ability
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches

Symptoms of URIs last between 3 and 14 days. If they persist for more than 14 days, you need to visit the Houston Urgent Care clinic for diagnosis. This can be further considered as:

  • Sinusitis
  • Allergy
  • Pneumonia, or
  • Bronchitis

Is an Upper Respiratory Infection Contagious?

Newmed Modern Urgent Care certifies that most upper respiratory infections are self-limiting viral infections. Although, you occasionally can get a bacterial URI.

Upper respiratory infections are primarily contagious and are spread from one person to another through the inhalation of contaminated respiratory droplets. These droplets are mainly spread through coughing or sneezing.

Respiratory infections are also spread by touching the nose or mouth using hands already exposed to infectious pathogens.

How Is an Upper Respiratory Infection Diagnosed at Urgent Care?

Most often, people with URIs already know the disease they have. They visit the urgent care center 77008 to control the symptoms and feel relief. The doctor at urgent care near you checks diagnoses the condition by checking your medical history, then conducting a physical examination.

Tests for URIs include:

  • Throat swab: This test quickly diagnoses the Group A beta-hemolytic strep using rapid antigen detection.
  • Lateral neck X-rays: It’s ordered to detect epiglottis, especially if you exhibit breathing difficulties.
  • Chest X-ray: Your doctor conducts this test if they suspect pneumonia
  • CT Scans: This is the test for diagnosing sinusitis

Should I Go to Urgent Care Clinic for Respiratory Infection?

It’s crucial to seek professional treatment if you have signs of an upper respiratory infection. While they are mostly not life-threatening, some symptoms such as difficulty breathing can mean you have a more serious underlying disease like asthma and pneumonia. Seek treatment at the urgent care in Houston, TX, for quick relief on symptoms of URIs.


The NeuMed blog is published by NeuMed Modern Urgent Care + IV Therapy, an innovative urgent care and IV infusion therapy clinic with locations in Houston, Texas.

Any general advice posted on our blog, or website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.