FAMILY HEALTH

Things to keep in mind about acute respiratory infections read

Dec 02 2020

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Acute respiratory infection is a condition in which the person experiences trouble in normal breathing. The infection typically begins in the nose and gradually starts affecting the trachea and the lungs. If the treatment is not done on time, the infection can spread to the entire respiratory system and can cause serious complications.

The disease is quite dangerous for children, people with older age, and those who have low immunity or suffer from immunity disorders

Types of Acute Respiratory Infections

Acute respiratory infections can be divided into two categories depending on the affection section of the respiratory tract. These include:

  • Upper Respiratory Infection: This one affects your upper respiratory system which includes the nose, throat, pharynx, larynx, and bronchi.
  • Lower Respiratory Infection: This one affects the lower respiratory system which includes the trachea, pulmonary vessels, the lungs, and diaphragm.

 

Symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infections

The symptoms of acute respiratory infection are different depending on the type of the condition. A few common signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Body ache

When the disease advances, you may experience the following health issues:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Low oxygen blood level
  • Fever and chills
  • Fainting and dizziness

In case of severe symptoms, you must seek medical assistance as soon as possible to prevent any further complications.

 

Causes of Acute Respiratory Infections

Acute respiratory infection is caused by various reasons. Below are common health conditions that are known to cause acute respiratory infection:

  • Common cold
  • Acute pharyngitis
  • Acute ear infection
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchiolitis

 

Diagnosis of Acute Respiratory Infections

The doctors conduct a respiratory exam to identify if you are suffering from an acute respiratory infection. They check for fluids or inflammations in the lungs and also examine your ears, nose, and throat.

Some other tests that may be recommended by your doctor are CT Scan, X-ray, and lung function test. Your doctor may even take a swab sample from your nose or throat to conduct lab tests and check which type of virus or bacteria has caused the infection.

 

Treatment and Home Remedies of Acute Respiratory Infections

Till now, there are no known treatments for an acute respiratory infection. The doctors usually prescribe medicines to control and manage the symptoms. Other than these, people can also try home remedies to get relief from pain and cough.

Some of the effective home remedies that can prove helpful are listed below:

  • Steam: This is one of the best methods to treat nasal congestion. All you need to do is boil some water and add a piece of camphor in it. Inhale this steam for 10-15 minutes and feel the difference. The steam helps in clearing mucus membranes and makes breathing easy.
  • Salt-water Gargle: Gargling with warm water mixed with salt offers relief to a sore throat. You can try this every morning for better results.
  • Ginger: Ginger and its antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties help alleviating various infections. You can either chew some pieces of ginger or consume it by using it into tea.
  • Eucalyptus: Boil a few eucalyptus leaves and inhale its steam to get relief from nasal congestion. You can also use eucalyptus oil and sniff it for better results.
  • Honey: Just like ginger, honey also soothes the throat and kills the infection-causing bacteria. This is suited for children suffering from respiratory infections.
  • Warm beverages: This one is one of the most common methods to treat viral infections. Drink hot beverages such as tea, milk, or hot chocolate to soothe your throat.
  • Lemon: Lemon tea or just consumption of lime juice can help in fighting the bacteria and keep you healthy.
  • Echinacea: This is a flower also known as coneflowers having antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It is available in various forms such as tablets, tincture, and tea. It can help treat cold and infections.
  • Rest: It may not seem like a remedy, but sleeping and rest can help the body get relaxed and boost the immune system. This, in turn, can help in fighting the bacteria.

 

Prevention and Control of Acute Respiratory Infections

Since there is no specific cure for acute respiratory infection, the best thing to do is prevent the disease and control its spread. Some of the preventive measures you can take are:

  • Wash your hands frequently to keep off bacteria and viruses.
  • Always use a handkerchief or tissue while sneezing or coughing. This can prevent the spread of the infection.
  • Stay away from touching your eyes, nose, and face to avoid accidentally catching the infection.
  • Avoid smoking to get a strong immunity system to fight off bacteria and viruses.

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