Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are no fun — and they affect millions each year. Check out these tips for avoiding URIs. Already dealing with one? Our doctors can help.

Upper respiratory infection (URI), a frequently-diagnosed ailment, is simply swelling of mucous membranes in your nose, throat, larynx (voice box), and/or bronchi (the tubes leading to your lungs). A cold, sinusitis (sinus infection), laryngitis, and bronchitis are common URIs. Runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and cough — often with thick mucus — are typical signs of a URI. While these symptoms are similar to allergies, you know you have a URI if you also feel very tired and have a fever, wheezing, headache, or pain when you swallow. You can often describe your symptoms and medical history to a doctor, who can make the diagnosis.

Did you know that the average adult can contract a cold two to four times a year? Treatment of a URI may involve a combination of basic remedies such taking a pain reliever/fever reducer, gargling with warm salt water, and inhaling steam. Decongestants and cough suppressants may also be effective. You can trust Teladoc to provide effective treatment options to help you recover as quickly as possible. Our board-certified doctors can diagnose your illness, recommend treatment, and prescribe medication if needed.

URIs are contagious; they’re often caused by a virus but can sometimes be caused by bacteria. The best way to avoid getting one is to avoid people who are sick. Remember these 6 tips to protect yourself:

  1. Wash your hands long and often. The magic timing is 30 seconds: Sing Happy Birthday in your head while circulating hot, soapy water over your hands up to your wrists and under your fingernails.
  2. Keep common surfaces clean. Use disinfectant spray or towelettes to wipe down your keyboard and mouse (don’t forget the mouse pad), as well as objects such as touch keypads (in elevators and on copiers) and door pulls (especially on the office refrigerator). If disinfectant isn’t handy, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby; use it after you grab that workroom stapler.
  3. Avoid touching your face. You don’t want to spread germs directly into your nose, eyes, or mouth.
  4. Crank up the humidity. Use a humidifier at your desk or in your bedroom. Dry indoor heat is a major culprit in helping URI viruses thrive and spread.
  5. Cover your nose and mouth. If you’re starting to feel a URI coming on, carry tissues or a handkerchief in case you sneeze. If you can’t stifle a cough or get to the Kleenex in time, cough into your sleeve or the crook of your arm.
  6. Stay home. You can protect your co-workers — and possibly recover faster — if you take a day or two away from the office to rest and focus on getting well. No one wants to catch someone else’s cold.

To get back on the road to wellness, contact Teladoc and request a visit. We’re available 24/7 by phone, online, or through our mobile app. Relief is only one cough — and a click — away.

 

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If you are in the United States and think you are having a medical or health emergency, call your health care professional, or 911, immediately.

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving. While we are continuously reviewing and updating our content, some of the information in this article may not reflect the most up-to-date scientific information. Please visit the online resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news, or reach out to Teladoc to speak with one of our board-certified physicians.