Upper Respiratory Infection
Alternate Names : URI
The upper part of the respiratory system includes the ears, nose,
sinuses, mouth, and throat. It also includes the main bronchi or windpipes,
which are the air-carrying tubes in the chest. The upper respiratory system is
the most commonly infected area in the body.
What is going on in the body?
The term upper respiratory infection (URI) includes the common cold,
throats, and flu.
URIs are usually caused by a virus but may also be due to bacteria or other
organisms. An upper respiratory infection is rarely serious but often causes
What are the causes and risks of the infection?
There are many
different types of upper respiratory infections, including:
cold, usually due to a virus
flu, or influenza virus
infection, which causes more severe symptoms than a cold
acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis, which involve the nasal
otitis externa, or infection of
the outer ear
acute otitis media, or
of the middle ear behind the eardrum
pharyngitis, or sore throat
acute bronchitis, an infection
the lower windpipes
croup, which is a viral
of the main windpipe that is usually only seen in children
epiglottitis, a bacterial
infection of the main windpipe that is more commonly seen in children
Other types of URI may also occur, but they are less common.