Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

  • Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Author: Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH
    Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH

    Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideAsthma Symptoms, Causes, and Medications

Asthma Symptoms, Causes, and Medications

What are the complications of an upper respiratory infection?

Some of the common complications of upper respiratory infections are the following:

  • respiratory compromise from epiglottitis;
  • secondary infection by bacteria (viral infection can cause impairment of the physical barrier in the respiratory airways making it easier for bacteria to invade) resulting in bacterial sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia;
  • formation of abscesses in the tonsils;
  • rheumatic fever from strep throat;
  • spread of infection from sinuses to the brain (meningitis);
  • involvement of the ears resulting in middle ear infections (otitis media);
  • worsening of underlying chronic lung disease (asthma, COPD);
  • spread of infection to the heart (pericarditis, myocarditis);
  • spread of the infection to the brain or the fluid around the brain causing encephalitis or meningitis; and
  • muscular pain and rib fractures from forceful coughing.
Reviewed on 7/17/2015
References
REFERENCE: Meneghetti, A. et al. "Upper Respiratory Tract Infection." Medscape. Apr 07, 2014

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