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Dr. Green
The symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection result from the toxins released as part of the immune system's inflammatory response to the invading virus or bacteria. Dr. Mansfield, can you tell us about some common symptoms of upper respiratory infections?

Dr. Mansfield
Certainly, Dr. Green. Symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection vary depending on what virus or bacteria is causing the infection, and where the mucous membrane has been invaded. But there are many symptoms that are common to most of these infections, including:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal discharge that may change from clear to white to green
  • Sneezing
  • Sore or scratchy throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Cough
  • Malaise, and
  • Fever

Less common symptoms can include:

  • Foul breath
  • Reduced ability to smell
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinus pain
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, and
  • Body aches

In most cases, the symptoms of a viral infection will go away on their own in less than two weeks. If symptoms last more than two weeks, or if symptoms are severe and worsening, it may be time to talk to a provider.