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.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) affects the sinuses, nose, larynx and pharynx.
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.
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
- Consider using Oregano Oil for supplementary support