Upper Respiratory Infection: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 8/31/2015

Upper respiratory infections (URI) are very common and include the common cold and flu. An upper respiratory infection is defined as an infection of any of the structures of the upper respiratory tract: the sinuses, nasal passages, pharynx, and larynx. Examples of specific types of upper respiratory infection include rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal cavity), sinusitis (sinus infection), nasopharyngitis (inflammation of the nasal cavity, pharynx, hypopharynx, uvula, and tonsils), pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx, uvula, and tonsils), laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), and epiglottitis (inflammation of the upper portion of the larynx or the epiglottis). Viruses cause most upper respiratory infections, although bacteria and fungi can also infect these areas.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2015

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