Most upper respiratory tract infections caused by viruses are self-limited, meaning they resolve on their own with no specific treatment. However, many people seek medical care for their symptoms. Dr. Mansfield, can you tell us about some of the treatments in these situations?
I sure can, Dr. Flemings. Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated are two important aspects of treating any upper respiratory infection. The body needs energy to fight the infection, and fluids lost from a runny nose, fever, or poor appetite need to be replenished.
In addition to rest and fluid intake, a variety of over-the-counter medications can help relieve symptoms of a viral infection. These include:
- Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, to reduce fever and body aches
- Antihistamines and decongestants to decrease nasal congestion
- Nasal ipratropium to decrease nasal discharge, and
- Cough medications and honey to reduce cough