Upper Respiratory Infection Care Plan

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By Heather Hylton, MS, PA-C
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
November 9, 2020

What is an Upper Respiratory Infection?

Upper respiratory infections (or URIs) are viral infections that affects the nose, throat, and airways—the most familiar being the common cold. These infections happen when a virus enters your body through your mouth, nose, or eyes. The result is an illness that affects part or all of your upper respiratory tract, including the throat, nose, larynx, and sinuses. Symptoms may include sore throat, coughing, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, headache, and low-grade fever. Read more about the common cold.

Over-the-counter medication

  • Stuffy nose? Take 30mg of Sudafed every 8 hours as needed. Don’t take if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Stop taking it if it makes you feel dizzy.
  • Runny nose? Try Flonase (a nasal steroid). Do two sprays in each nostril once daily for a week.
  • Have a cough? Take Robitussin DM every 4 hours as needed using the dosing cup in the package.
  • Experiencing pain or fever? Take 600mg of ibuprofen (Advil) or 650mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 6 hours with food, as needed.

Home remedies

  • Take a hot, steamy shower to help relieve nasal congestion.
  • Do a sinus flush using nasal saline (found at any pharmacy) to alleviate congestion.
  • Drink tea with honey or suck on a cough drop to help soothe a sore throat.
  • Gargle salt water to help soothe a sore throat. Just add half a teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water and gargle the water as long as you can in the back of your throat, then spit it out.
  • Stay hydrated with non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluids. Drink at least 8 cups a day
  • Get plenty of rest (at least 8 hours of sleep each night).

See a doctor in person if…

You develop any shortness of breath, chest pain, a fever that won’t come down, or feel like you might pass out.

Check in with K Health if…

You’re not seeing an improvement in your health within 2-3 days. Come back and we will re-evaluate your treatment plan.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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