Health Guide
Drug Guide

Upper respiratory infection in adults

What is it?

An upper respiratory infection (in-FEK-shun) is also called the common cold. It is an infection that can affect your nose, throat, ears, and sinuses. For healthy people, the common cold is usually not serious and does not need special treatment. Cold symptoms are usually worst for the first three to five days. Most people get better in seven to fourteen days. You may continue to cough for two to three weeks after getting a cold.


The common cold is caused by a germ called a virus. There are many different cold viruses. The virus that caused your cold is contagious (kon-TAY-jus). This means it can be easily spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or touching hands. You are more likely to get a cold in the winter and if you are feeling stressed or tired. It may be easier for you to get a cold if you smoke cigarettes or have allergies, such as hay fever.

Signs and Symptoms:

You may have one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

Wellness Recommendations:

Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week. If you smoke, you should quit. Limit how much alcohol you drink. Stay away from others who have a cold. Always wash your hands after using the toilet.

Medical Care:

There is no cure for viral illnesses, such as the common cold.

Dietary Measures:

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.



Complementary Therapies:

Other ways of treating your symptoms:

Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

Talk to your caregiver if:


Care Agreement:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


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Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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