Health & Wellbeing
What is a Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI)?
A respiratory tract infection affects the throat, airways, sinuses or lungs.
Respiratory Tract Infections usually falls into one of two categories, according to where it is primarily located.
- Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) affects the sinuses, nose, larynx and pharynx. Common infections of a URT include laryngitis, rhinitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis, the common cold and middle ear infections. Symptoms that are associated with a URTI are sore throats, coughs, nasal congestion, a runny nose, and sneezing
- Lower Respiratory Tract Infection (LRTI) affects the trachea, lungs, bronchial tubes and bronchioles. Common infections of the LRTI are bronchitis, tuberculosis, flu, pneumonia or bronchiolitis. Symptoms associated with a LRTI are a cough with mucus and phlegm, breathlessness, and wheezing.
RTIs are caused either by bacteria or viruses. Children are more likely to contract RTIs since their immune system is less fully developed. RTIs are usually transmitted through the air (droplets enter the air through sneezing and coughing, and others inadvertently breathe these in). They are also often spread when a RTI sufferer touches surfaces/objects after touching their nose, mouth or eyes.
Symptoms usually pass after 1-2 weeks. However, more severe complications can develop in children, older adults and those who are immunocompromised.
It is vital that you see the doctor if any of these symptoms persist for more than 3 weeks, if;
- you are coughing up bloody mucus or phlegm,
- you already have a heart/lung/liver/kidney condition,
- you have multiple sclerosis or another nervous system disorder, COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis,
- you have a weakened immune system or are experiencing any chest pain
- you have any lumps in your neck.
- you have any medical concerns whatsoever.
Oregano Oil used as an Antibacterial Agent
Oregano oil is a natural antibi bacterial that has been shown to be active against Staphylococcus aureus (responsible for many upper respiratory tract infections) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (responsible for many lower respiratory tract infections).
Preliminary research into the oil found that tiny doses of oregano oil are capable of wiping out fungi and bacteria, including MRSA.
It can be taken as a few drops in milk or water or made into a vapour (place a few drops in some steaming water and inhale the steam with a towel over your head).
Oregano oil’s two major phenol components, Thymol and Carvacrol give Oregano Oil its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antibiotic properties:
- Thymol is a powerful antiseptic and antifungal that stimulates the immune system. It fights bacteria (such as E-Coli, Staphylococcus aureus), fungi (including candida), parasites (like intestinal worms). It has been shown to be effective in treating upper respiratory infections and also in managing and urinary tract infections.
- Carvacrol has been shown to be effective against a wide range of infections including those caused by bacteria, parasites and fungi: for example, Candida Albicans, E-Coli, Giardia, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella and Listeria.
Thymol and Carvacrol work in a number of different ways;
- Destroying bacterial pathogens
- Anti-inflammatory - relieving headaches and swelling in the nose and airways
- Expectorant - clearing sinus congestion
- Reducing the body’s response to allergens.
Oregano has GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status worldwide. Specific contraindications are during pregnancy or when using blood thinning medications.
Your body has physical barriers to ward off infection such as nasal hairs, mucous and cilia. Also, adenoids and tonsils work as part of our immune system to engulf and destroy invading pathogens.
However, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce the spread of infection:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- Reduce contact with people who have an infection
- Clean objects that have been touched by infected persons (such as door handles, telephones, computers)
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough