Upper respiratory tract infections are one of the most common reasons people visit their provider, and the most common illness resulting in missed work or school. An upper respiratory infection, or URI, is any acute, contagious infection affecting the nose, nasal cavity, sinuses, pharynx, or larynx.
The common cold, sometimes called nasopharyngitis, is the most well known URI, but there are other types of URIs as well. In general, a URI is named for the specific area of the upper respiratory tract that is inflamed. Examples include:
- Rhinitis, or inflammation of the nasal cavity
- Sinusitis, or inflammation of the paranasal sinuses
- Laryngitis, or inflammation of the larynx, and
- Epiglottitis, or inflammation of the epiglottis