Respiratory tract infections can be treated with medications, including bronchodilators and, in some cases, antibiotics. More severe cases may require treatment in hospital.
Upper respiratory tract infection symptoms can include a sore throat, tonsillitis, laryngitis, sinus infection, sneezing and coughing, headache, fever, body ache, and fatigue. Lower respiratory tract infection symptoms can range from cough with mucus, chest pain while coughing, fevers and chills, body ache, fatigue, and shortness of breath. In the case of pneumonia, symptoms can also include disorientation, along with nausea and vomiting.
Lower respiratory tract infections involve the trachea and the lungs, including the bronchi and bronchioles, and the alveoli. Bronchitis and pneumonia are two of the most common causes of lower respiratory infection.
An upper respiratory tract infection happens when a virus or bacteria enters the respiratory system, and mostly affects the upper airways, namely the nose, sinuses, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus. The common cold is one of the most frequent causes of upper respiratory infection.
On its own, cystic fibrosis (CF) can cause chronic symptoms such as excess mucus production, sinus inflammation (sinusitis), shortness of breath, and cough. In these patients, viral or bacterial infections can lead to lengthy respiratory illness, which is associated with a decline in lung function and a higher risk of death.