Upper Respiratory Infection - Treatment

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What treatment has been effective for your upper respiratory infection?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver


* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!


I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white square:

What is the treatment for upper respiratory infection?

As described above, most cases of upper respiratory infection are caused by viruses and therefore, require no specific treatment and are self-limited. People with upper respiratory infections typically diagnose themselves and treat their symptoms at home without requiring doctor's visit or prescription medications.

Rest is an important step in treating upper respiratory infections. Usual activities, such as, working and light exercising may be continued as much as tolerated.

Increased intake of oral fluids is also generally advised to keep up with the fluid loss from runny nose, fevers, and poor appetite associated with upper respiratory infections.

Treatment of the symptoms of upper respiratory infection is usually continued until the infection has resolved.

Some of the most common upper respiratory infection or cold medications used to treat these symptoms are the following:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used to reduce fever and body aches.
  • Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) can be used for body aches and fever.
  • Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) are helpful in decreasing nasal secretions and congestions.
  • Nasal ipratropium (topical) can be used to diminish nasal secretions.
  • Cough medications (antitussives) can be used to reduce cough. Many cough medications are commercially available such as dextromethorphan, guaifenesin (Robitussin), and codeine all have shown benefits in reducing cough in upper respiratory infections.
  • Honey can be used in reducing cough.
  • Steroids such as (dexamethasone (Decadron )and prednisone orally (and nasally) are sometimes used reduce inflammation of the airway passage and decrease swelling and congestion.
  • Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) Actifed oral, phenylephrine (Neo-synephrine nasal) can be used to reduce nasal congestion (generally not recommended in children less than 2 years of age and not recommended for individuals with high blood pressure).
  • Oxymetazoline (Afrin) nasal solution is a decongestant, but should only be used for short-term.
  • Combination medications containing many of these components are also widely available over the counter.

Some cough and cold medicines can cause excessive drowsiness need to be used with caution in children younger than 4 years of age and the elderly.

Antibiotics are sometimes used to treat upper respiratory infections if a bacterial infection is suspected or diagnosed. These conditions may include strep throat, bacterial sinusitis, or epiglottitis. Antivirals may occasionally be recommended by doctors in patients who are immunocompromised (poor immune system). The treating doctor can determine which antibiotic would be the best option for a particular infection.

Because antibiotics are associated with many side effects and can promote bacterial resistance and secondary infections, they need to be used very cautiously and only under the direction of a treating physician.

Inhaled epinephrine is sometimes used in children with severe spasm of the airways (bronchospasm) and in croup to reduce spasm.

Rarely, surgical procedures may be necessary in cases of complicated sinus infections, compromised airway with difficulty breathing, formation of abscesses behind the throat, or abscess formation of the tonsils (peritonsillar abscess).

Return to Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

See what others are saying

Comment from: Sosophisticated, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I've had the misfortune of dealing with this upper respiratory infection in the cold months since I was about 2 years old. I was always in and out of the hospital getting cortisone and epinephrine shots because I was so bad. For the past couple of years I have been getting my flu shot in October and I have not had a bad case of this. I am on my 2nd day of medications and it is clearing up. The only thing that will help my infection/asthma is 70 mg of prednisone tapered down for 1 week. I start feeling better after the first dose because it stops the inflammation in the bronchioles, gets rid of the mucous and I can breathe again clearly along with taking my nebulizer.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: She, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I had a cold, recovered, and then went on a cruise. Twenty four hours in, I developed an itchy throat and irritating cough. I made a doctor visit to find that I had developed my 1st URI (upper respiratory tract infections). He advised me to get some OTC Delsym and he prescribed a prescription cough suppressant benzonatate. Now after using these 2 in conjunction, 3 days later I feel significantly better. It is better to avoid work if possible as URIs are contagious and this is also the time to avoid other people's germs as well.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

STAY INFORMED

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!