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Upper Respiratory Infection: Overview and Symptoms

Upper respiratory infections (URIs), or colds, are the most common illnesses in the industrialized world. They can be caused by many families of viruses, such as rhinovirus (which has at least 100 types), coronavirus, and respiratory syncytial virus.

Direct contact with individuals who have a URI permits spread of the virus. In particular, closed settings such as homes and schools have higher attack rates than work settings. Touching is the most effective way to spread the infection. Typically, a person with a cold rubs his or her eyes or nose and then shakes hands or touches objects that others touch later.


  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Mild fever


Upper Respiratory Infection: Diagnosis and Treatment >>