According to the Ambulatory Syllabus of Columbia University Medical Residency Program, the contagious nature of upper respiratory tract infections is the main reason why it is the common acute illness in the US and the world, and the reason for incurring absences from school or from work.
Its early manifestation is when your nose begins to itch, you give a gentle sneeze or two and you always feel like blowing your nose when you have the chance to, it’s probably a cold in the making.
The common cold is one of the many infections that affect the upper respiratory tract (URT) more than once in our lifetime. However, there are other URT problems and symptoms not related to the common cold.
The URT consists of the nose, nostrils, nasal cavity, mouth, para nasal sinuses, pharynx and larynx. It may be one of the least pampered parts of our body, but nonetheless, one of the most important.
As a whole, the URT plays the an essential role in moving air to and from the lungs, as well as filtering, moistening and warming the air we breathe.
The URT is susceptible to over two hundred viruses which can cause upper respiratory tract infections. The viruses that attack our URT are very contagious and can be transferred from one person to another through direct contact such as shaking hands, sharing food or drinks, kissing, coughing or sneezing.
The common cold, influenza, laryngitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis and tonsillitis are just some of the many infections that affect our respiratory tract.
Most people have a minimum of two colds per year, while children’s upper respiratory tracts are more susceptible to infections than adults. URT infections are very unpredictable.
Its viral nature causes it to strike anyone, anytime. There are ways of minimizing the damage of these infections, or even preventing occurrences of such.
Other than over the counter remedies and frequent visits to the doctor, the first step to a healthier URT is getting plenty of rest. Keeping your body clean and drinking lots of fluids.
Remember that, though our upper respiratory tract is just a part of the whole body, a healthy URT will contribute to overall comfort and wellness.