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Respiratory infection

The doctors on Heal can help diagnose and treat respiratory infections. Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are infections affecting the upper part of the respiratory tract including the nose, sinuses, pharynx, and larynx. They are very common infections, with the US alone seeing more than 3 million cases each year. Some examples of URIs are the common cold, rhinitis, sinus infections, and laryngitis. They generally include symptoms ranging from nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, scratchy or sore throat, headache, fever, and mucus production.

URIs are one of the most common reasons for doctor visits, and the most common reason for missing school or work. URIs are contagious and most often caused by self-limited viral infections, although occasionally, bacterial infections may cause URIs. Most resolve in 7-10 days, but occasionally symptoms can linger.

Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) are infections affecting the lower portion of the respiratory tract, including the trachea, primary bronchi, and the lungs. Symptoms of LRTIs include shortness of breath, weakness, fever, coughing, and fatigue. Common LRTIs include bronchitis, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis. Influenza or the flu can affect both the upper and lower respiratory tract. Lower respiratory tract infections are also self-limited and may require supportive medications for symptoms.

Regular hand washing, covering the face while coughing or sneezing, and avoiding sharing food or beverages with infected people can help to limit the spread of infection

When to use Heal

If you suspect you have a URI but your symptoms persist, a doctor can help identify if your URI is something more serious or is exacerbated by external conditions or an underlying medical condition. A number of conditions can resemble URIs in terms of symptoms including asthma, pneumonia, H1N1, allergic reactions, acute HIV infection and influenza, but require different treatment plans. With Heal, your doctor will do a full evaluation, including a detailed medical history and examine you in the full context of your home environment to identify an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan for you.

Generally, LRTIs tend to be more serious conditions than URIs, so if you suspect you may have a lower respiratory tract infection, don’t wait to seek treatment. Book a doctor house call with Heal today.


Seek emergency medical attention if:

  • Your symptoms are severe
  • You have difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • You have chest pain or tightness
  • You have difficulty swallowing
  • Your infection is recurring
  • You have a severe cough
  • You experience wheezing
  • Your skin turns a blue color due to lack of oxygen