What causes an upper respiratory infection?
There are many different types of viruses that cause a respiratory infection. In fact, more than 200 different varieties of viruses can cause cold symptoms. The most common viruses that cause colds are called rhinoviruses. Other types include coronavirus, parainfluenza, adenovirus, enterovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). After the virus enters your body, it causes a reaction—the body's immune system begins to react to the foreign virus causing:
- An increase in mucus production (a runny nose)
- Swelling of the lining of the nose, making it hard to breathe and causing congestion
- Sneezing from the irritation in the nose
- A cough from the increased mucus dripping down the throat
Most upper respiratory infections are diagnosed based on reported symptoms, but these symptoms may be similar to certain bacterial infections, allergies and other medical conditions. Talk to your primary care doctor about your symptoms to determine the best upper respiratory infection treatment for you.