A to Z: Upper Respiratory Infection

A to Z: Upper Respiratory Infection

A to Z: Upper Respiratory Infection

Also called: URI, Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

An upper respiratory infection (URI) is an infection that affects the nose and throat. A cold is the most common type of URI. Croup and sinusitis are also URIs.

More to Know

URIs may cause swelling inside the nose, which is what gives a person that "stuffed up" feeling. Other common symptoms include a sore throat, sneezing, and a runny nose.

URIs are highly contagious and spread through coughing, hand contact, and even by touching objects an infected person has touched. Kids in childcare and grade school get the most colds. Infections like this are most widespread in winter months.

Keep in Mind

Most colds clear up in a week with no treatment. If a URI lasts longer than a week or your child is getting worse instead of better, talk to a doctor. Pain in the chest, ears, or sinuses could be signs of a more serious infection.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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Related Resources
OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.
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