How should I treat an upper respiratory infection?

For upper respiratory infections, such as sore throats, ear infections, sinus infections, colds and bronchitis, try the following:

  • get plenty of rest
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • avoid smoking, second-hand smoke, and other pollutants (airborne chemicals or irritants)
  • take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain or fever (do not give aspirin to a child)

For children and adults, over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants and saline nasal sprays may help relieve some symptoms. Remember, always use over-the-counter products as directed. Many over-the-counter products are not recommended for children younger than certain ages.

Over-the-counter medicines may help relieve symptoms such as runny nose, congestion, fever and aches, but they do not shorten the length of time you or your child is sick.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.