Skip to content
- so it’sgoing to become more apparent, I’m sure, as you hearmy voice in this video, but I do not feel well and I’lltell you, but particularly, I guess why I don’t feel well. So this is me, I’mdrawing, kind of, myself. I’ve got some red hair and I’m also going to draw in my throat and,kind of, my nasal passages. So, here’s my throat,kind of carry mine down and it connects with my nasal passages and the back of my throat, so I’ve got those structures kind of drawn in here for you. And I’ll tell you that part of the reason I don’t feel well is becauseI have a really sore throat. It feels like, at times,fire to be honest right now. So, kind of right in back here, at the back of my throat, it’s really sore. I’m also, probably you can tell by the sound of my voice and how nasal it is, I’m pretty congested, so kind of right up here in my nose, I’m pretty congested and believe it or not, right now as I’m making this video I have a fever. I have a 101.8 degree feverand that’s in Fahrenheit, so that’s actually about a38.8 degrees Celsius fever. And the reason I have allof these terrible symptoms, excuse me, is because I havean upper respiratory infection. So let me write that in for us, “upper respiratory, respiratoryinfection, infection.” Or sometimes this isshortened to URI, URI. And so, that’s what I want to talk about. I want to talk about upperrespiratory infection, so let’s start by thinkingabout what an infection is. Well, an infection, letme get the right pen, is a disease causing agent, so an infection is a diseasecausing agent that’s going to come in and it’s going toinvade our host tissue, so in me, my cells, it’sgoing to invade those cells and it’s going to cause a reaction. And in the case of upperrespiratory infections, those disease causing agents are typically either going to be bacteria, so let me kind of draw some bacteria in here. I’ll draw like the littlechain cut out of bacteria, or viruses, so this would be a virus, this is kind of a classiclittle cartoon of a virus. So, these are the disease causing agents, so that’s the infection part.
- What about the upper respiratory? Well, this is actuallya pretty non-specific term here because there’s a lot of parts of our upper respiratory tract, but let’s just go through them, they kind of make intuitive sense,so our respiratory tract is the tract that we’regoing to breathe through, so let’s think about wherethe air that’s going to go, eventually down into our lungshere, where that air starts. So, it’s going to start at our nose, we breathe in through our nose sometimes. And right here we have,excuse me, our nasal cavity and if that becomes infectedby something, we have rhinitis. So, rhi, rhinitis, yeahright, kind of, up here and you might be able to remember this if you think of rhinoceroses,rhinos that have, excuse me, a big horn on their nose, so we’ve got rhinitis in our nasal cavity and then kind of wherethe back of our throat is, where your uvula, that little thing that hangs in the back of your throat. That area is called the pharynx, so if that becomes infected, in this area, we have pharyngitis, so phar, pharyngitis. And then, as we continue to godown, the respiratory tract, underneath the pharynx, we actually have a little flap that covers… That, sorry, protectsthe airway in the back coming in the bottom back of our throat, it protects our airway or our esophagus, respectively when we’reeither swallowing food or breathing in air and thatlittle flap, kind of, in the bottom back of our throatis called our epiglottis. And if that becomes infected,we can get epiglottitis. So epiglottitis, and so, as we continue to go down beneath the epiglottis, we have an area called the larynx and that’s where our vocalcords, our voice box sits, so if that becomes infected, we can get laryngitis, so laryngitis. And then, not typically talked about with the upper respiratory tract, usually that’s kind of where we end the upper respiratory tract and start talking about the lower respiratorytract, but in a case of upper respiratory infection,sometimes included is the top part of the trachea, which is going to eventually kindof split off to the lungs. So, if that becomes infected, we can get tracheitis, so tracheitis. Right there, now you might have picked up, as I’ve gone down this list,that all of these end in -itis.
- So you see, rhinitis, pharyngitis, itis, itis, itis, itis, itis. Well, -itis is actually a suffix that’s often used in a descriptionof inflammation. When something becomes inflamedand that’s what happening, that’s what’s causingsome of these symptoms. As these little disease causing agents invade my cells, they cause damage and that causes a response like I told you in our body and that’s the inflammation. So that’s where all of these-itises are coming from. So most commonly, these diseasecausing agents are a virus. That’s kind of the majority ofupper respiratory infections. And of those viruses, whichare already the majority, the majority of virusesare going to be rhinovirus. And that’s so common that rhinovirus is also called the common cold. So when you think of the common cold and how crummy you feel, youhave rhinovirus, probably. And you can imagine thatwith the same kind of root, that rhino root, that thisvirus loves to hang out in your nose and, kind of, your nasal cavity and cause a head cold. That would be the common cold. Another type of virus, though, that might cause an upperrespiratory infection, a little bit less common, but still prevalent would be the influenza virus. We hear a lot about that, influenza. This is another virus that can cause an upper respiratory infection and then, aside from these, there areviruses like the coronavirus, corona, the adenovirus and really, there are more than 200 different viruses that can cause an upperrespiratory infection and that’s kind of the majority of the disease causing agents,but we also do have bacteria that can be the culprit. And probably the most commonof those is streptococcus. I’m going to shorten that to strep. Streptococcus, it’s a lineof these little coccaceae, these spherical kindof ball-shaped bacteria and there are a few differentforms of streptococcus. There’s strep A, there’sstrep C, there’s strep G that can all cause an infection in the upper respiratory tract, but probably the most common of these is strep A. And I’m particularly loathsome of strep A because that’s what’s currently causing my upper respiratory infection, so you can imagine probably a ton of these little strep A bugs hanging out in mybody as I’m speaking to you. And I mentioned to you that my current upper respiratory infectionis causing me some symptoms and, really you canthink that these symptoms are a direct result of the infection and subsequent inflammationcaused by these little bugs. So, some symptoms I mentioned some of the most common ones because I’m currently experiencing them, but you’re going to have things like runny or stuffy nose. So runny or stuffy or congested, would be a little bit more appropriate word. So it’s either, kind of,we’ve got some nasal leakage that would be, leakage, kind of that runny coming out of the nose, nasal leakage or some nasal congestion, that stuffy nose, but that’s a pretty common symptom. What’s happening withthat is that your body, as part of that inflammatory response, is trying to clear thesedisease causing agents out of your body and so, that’s going to produce more mucus to try to trap these things and then eventually expel them. And as this mucusaccumulates, it can congest and cause that stuffy nose, but eventually it’s going to kind of drain out and it’s either going to cause,it’s either going to leak down the back of your throat here, so let me kind of draw some mucus, mucus kind of travelingdown he back of your throat, from your nasal cavity andirritating your throat even more or it’s going to come,kind of, out of your nose. And that would be therunny side of the symptoms and you’re also going to havelike I said, that sore throat.
- So, sore throat and as these little agents invade these cells, they kill these cells. These bacteria will, youknow, jump inside these cells and so will these viruses andthey’re destroy these cells. So it actually is hurting our body and that’s part of thatsoreness that we’re feeling. So we might have a sore throat. And another kind of big, hallmark sign of the inflammatory response toinfection is a fever, a fever. And again, I really didjust check my temperature and it was 101.8, so I’m notfeeling super, super well. Now, if you had to guess howI came about this particular strep A infection, whatmight you guess as a reason? Why do you think I got strep A into my upper respiratory tract sothat it could infect it? Well, I’ll tell you that one thing I do and you do probably awhole lot is I touch, with my hand, my nose and my mouth. So all the time, I’m touching my nose. I don’t ever pick my nose, I’ve never ever done that before, ever. But I do touch my nose andI touch my mouth frequently. All the time throughout the day. And I also a lot of other things. I touch doors, I touchobjects around the room, I touch other people and Iprobably got a handy amount of these germs on myhand and put them right on the entrance to myupper respiratory tract. So I put them right on mynares, that’s the nostrils, and right on my mouth, whichopens into my oral cavity here. And so that’s one of the most common ways that you can get these infections. Another way is, say I were to sneeze, maybe I were to sneeze or I were to cough. I’m expelling a lot now,of these kind of these infected little partsall throughout the air, so people that are around me, these particles might land on them. Land on their hands or land on their face and they might become infected. And so, these are kind of big ways that upper respiratoryinfections are transmitted. With hand-to-hand contactand kind of through the air. But, really both of these are really, really heavily preventable. So, with hand-to-handcontact, if I wash my hands a whole lot, so handwashing, hand washing. I can try to get some ofthese germs off my hands A: Before I touch my mouth and B: Before I touch other people, which is going to prevent a lotof this transmission. Also, when I do cough orwhen I do have to sneeze, I can be really polite and I can cover that, maybe with my shoulder. So, I’m going to cover, cough,excuse me, cough and sneeze. I’m going to try toprevent those particles from flying throughoutthe air and then lastly, some of these infections,like the influenza virus, there are actually vaccines against, so that’s why we get flushots and that can prevent me from getting it and also from, you know, potentially spreadingit if I were to get it.
- But, to be honest,preventing these illnesses is not what I’m most worriedabout right now because I already have my upperrespiratory infection. Now, I’m worried abouttreatment, how do I feel better? So, let me write “treatment” down for us. And I’ll tell you thatreally, with a lot of these, since, again, the majorityare caused by viruses, there isn’t a specifictreatment to kill these viruses. We kind of have to let ourbody’s immune system identify and start to kind ofattack back against these and we kind of have to wait it out. So, a lot of the treatment isgoing to be really supportive. One of the things we cando is we can hydrate, we can drink lots ofclear fluids like water. Hydrate and hydration isgoing to do two things for us. One, it’s going to replete, it’s going to replace a lot of the fluidsthat we’ve probably lost. One of the things thatour body is trying to do is it’s trying to getrid of these infections, so we might be trying to urinate more just so we can eliminate as much of these infections as possible. So, I’m going to replace some of the fluids that I’ve already lost. Hydrating also is going to help me thin some of this mucusthat’s produced in order to kind of trap and expel the bacteria, which is going to change the stuffy nose into more of a runny nose. I can also kind of tryto relieve the symptoms, so with treatment I’m goingto put in symptom relief. So I can do things like suck on a lozenge that might have a littlebit of menthol in it or something that’s going tomake my throat feel better. I might use an over-the-counternasal decongestant. So, I’ve got a congested nose and I might decongest it to allow someof that mucus to flow out. If I had a fever like I do right now and I actually did this symptomrelief, I took some Tylenol. You can get over-the-counterTylenol or ibuprofen. Something that has someantipyretic that’s really, I’ll write that up here, antipyretic. That’s kind of a fancy wordfor fever buster, antipyretic. So a medicine that has anantipyretic quality to it like Tylenol or Oran or ibuprofen and I’m going to try to get a lot of rest. I’m going to get a lot ofrest because I don’t want my body to have to expend any more energy than it has to on peripheral things like running around the block orlifting a bunch of weights so that it can divert that energy into fighting off this infection with me.
- Now, that’s for these viral infections that there’s not a real cure for. For bacterial infections,we can use antibiotics and again, these aren’t very common upper respiratory infections. The majority of these upperrespiratory infections are caused by viruses, so antibiotics aren’t going to do anything for those. But if it caused by bacteria like strep A, we can use some antibiotics, which our doctor will give us when we go see him.
- Respiratory disease overview by Medicos
- occupational lung diseases By medicos