Respiratory Infections

Internal Medicine, Physical Therapy, Pediatrics & Pulmonology located in San Antonio, TX

Colds, flu, and sinusitis are just some of the respiratory infections that affect millions of people in the United States every year. At San Antonio Premier Internal Medicine in Texas, the highly skilled medical team provides rapid testing and expert diagnosis to relieve your symptoms. To benefit from their expertise in respiratory infections, call one of the practice’s three San Antonio offices or book an appointment online today.

What are respiratory infections?

Respiratory infections are unpleasant conditions affecting your nasal passages, sinuses, and throat (the upper respiratory tract) and/or your lungs (lower respiratory tract). These infections develop when microorganisms like viruses or bacteria invade your body and start multiplying.

Common respiratory infections include:

  • Colds
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Acute and chronic sinusitis
  • Laryngitis and pharyngitis
  • Tonsillitis
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Strep throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Pleurisy
  • COVID-19

Despite the unpleasant symptoms they can cause, respiratory infections like colds and laryngitis soon pass with self-care, providing you’re generally healthy. However, these conditions can develop into serious problems like potentially life-threatening pneumonia in vulnerable people.

Infants, older people, and anyone with chronic health problems are at risk of respiratory infection complications. Obesity, lung diseases like asthma and emphysema, diabetes, and autoimmune disorder treatments that lower your immunity are all significant risk factors.

What symptoms do respiratory infections cause?

General symptoms of respiratory infections include:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Cough
  • Aching
  • Fever and chills

Your symptoms can vary depending on the kind of respiratory infection you have. For example, a sinus infection causes intense facial pain that worsens if you bend forward. Flu can cause vomiting and diarrhea, while COVID-19 often affects your sense of taste and smell. Pneumonia might cause shortness of breath.

How are respiratory infections diagnosed?

If you develop respiratory infection symptoms, your doctor at San Antonio Premier Internal Medicine performs a physical exam. They check your nose and throat, feel your neck glands, and listen to your lungs through a stethoscope.

Your doctor might use a cotton swab to get a sample from your nasal passages or throat. Testing the sample identifies the cause of your symptoms, enabling you to get the most effective treatment. Your doctor might also check the oxygen levels in your blood using a pulse oximeter — a device that fits painlessly on your finger.

If your doctor suspects you have a serious condition like pneumonia, they might send you for a chest X-ray.

How are respiratory infections treated?

Most healthy people soon recover from respiratory infections with simple home care. Rest, an easily digestible diet, and plenty of fluids are vital if you have a respiratory infection. Over-the-counter cough medicine, sore throat treatments, and pain relief medications can help you manage your symptoms until you recover.

If you have a severe or chronic bacterial infection, you might need antibiotics to destroy the bacteria. However, these medicines are of no use in treating viral infections. Antiviral drugs can ease symptoms in severe cases and for vulnerable patients.

If you’re struggling with a respiratory infection, call San Antonio Premier Internal Medicine or book an appointment online today for expert diagnosis and treatment.