When a common cold or flu spirals out of control, or when a virus morphs into a secondary, bacterial infection, the sinuses, trachea, bronchial tubes or lungs may become infected with a respiratory infection. Most people have experienced a respiratory tract infection in their lifetime, and springtime often creates conditions that are ripe for the outbreak of these kinds of infections. At Medco ER & Urgent Care of Plano, TX, we commonly diagnose and treat seasonal respiratory conditions.
“Pollen can be an irritant that sets off allergies and escalates respiratory conditions,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “We also see a lot of colds and flus this time of year, even with our current focus on social distancing, masks and handwashing. Respiratory infections often develop in the aftermath of colds and flus and need medical intervention.”
What is a respiratory infection?
A respiratory infection occurs when a virus or bacteria takes over the sinuses, throat, airway or lungs. As you may have guessed, a viral respiratory infection is caused by a virus while a bacterial respiratory infection is caused by bacteria. This is usually the result of a secondary infection that takes place after a viral infection.
Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics, but there are some antiviral drugs that can be used to treat viruses if the outbreak is treated within the first 24 hours.
Respiratory infections are classified as upper and lower. Upper respiratory tract infections affect the sinuses, throat, pharynx and larynx. Lower respiratory tract infections affect the trachea, bronchioles and lungs.
Symptoms of a respiratory infection
Different respiratory infections have different symptoms, but most include some of these:
- Fever, chills
- Muscle aches
- Sinus drainage
- Cough – dry or wet
- Shortness of breath
- Painful breathing
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish tinge to skin
Is a respiratory infection contagious?
“Many kinds of respiratory infections are highly contagious,” said Dr. Khan. “An example would be SARS that originated in China and spread rapidly to scan the globe. It is a good idea to treat any kind of respiratory infection as contagious and to try to keep it from spreading from airborne particles or through contact.”
Treatment for respiratory infections
Depending on the severity of the respiratory infection, over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers are often the starting point. If your rapid-results lab at Medco ER determines the infection is bacterial, then an antibiotic may be prescribed. Oxygen supplementation may also be used.
Get help fast at Medco ER & Urgent Care
With the convenience of a freestanding ER and little-to-no wait, Medco ER & Urgent Care offers some of the best medical care for respiratory infections. Our board-certified physicians are experienced in diagnosing and treating a range of respiratory conditions. With our help, you can soon be on the path to breathing easy again.
- Plano location:
3960 Legacy Drive, Plano TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-392-4000