General Practice 2022

Infecçãorespiratoryória: symptoms, causes and treatment

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Infecçãorespiratoryória: symptoms, causes and treatment
Infecçãorespiratoryória: symptoms, causes and treatment

Respiratory infection is an infection that arises in any region of the respiratory tract and can reach from the upper airways, such as the nostrils, throat or bones of the face, to the lower airways, such as bronchi and lungs.

Generally, this type of infection is caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi and causes symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, fever or sore throat, for example. These infections are more common in winter, as it is the period when there is greater circulation of microorganisms, as the temperature is lower and there is a greater tendency to stay indoors. Check out other common winter illnesses and how to avoid them.

Upper respiratory infections are the most common and are usually contagious, especially those caused by viruses, which are easily spread in places with agglomerations of people, such as schools, day care centers or on the bus, for example.On the other hand, lower infections, which affect the bronchi and lungs, are usually more serious and affect people at greater risk, such as babies, children, the elderly and in people with compromised immunity.

Main symptoms

The most common symptoms of a respiratory infection are:

  • Coryza;
  • Intense cough, which may or may not contain secretions;
  • Stuffy nose;
  • General malaise;
  • Fever;
  • Lung pain;
  • Headache;

The sensation of shortness of breath may arise in some cases, however this is a sign that may indicate that the infection is getting worse and, therefore, it is recommended to make a medical evaluation at the hospital, in order to start the treatment. best kind of treatment.

How to confirm the diagnosis

To diagnose respiratory infection, generally, it is only necessary to evaluate the doctor, who will identify the symptoms and perform a physical evaluation, with auscultation of the lungs and observation of the pharynx, for example.

In cases of suspected more serious infections, such as pneumonia, COVID-19 or tuberculosis, or when there are doubts about the cause of the symptoms, it may be necessary to perform other tests, such as a chest x-ray, examination blood test or sputum test, to identify the microorganism that generated the infection and thus decide on the most appropriate treatment.

Possible causes

Various infections can reach the respiratory tract, some milder and others more severe. Some of the most common causes of respiratory infections include:

1. Common cold or flu

It is an infection caused by a virus, causing coughing, runny nose, sneezing and nasal obstruction.In the flu, there is infection by the Influenza type viruses, which cause more intense symptoms, such as body pain and fever. Better understand the differences between the flu and a cold, and what to do to relieve it.

2. Sinusitis

It is inflammation of the sinuses that can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi, causing symptoms such as headache, facial pain, nasal discharge, cough and fever.

3. Pharyngitis

Pharyngitis is a throat infection, which occurs mainly by bacteria, causing local inflammation, in addition to a runny nose and cough, most often caused by a virus.

4. Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils and usually occurs as a result of pharyngitis, with intense pain to swallow and presence of pus in the throat.

5. Bronchitis

Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi and is considered a lower respiratory infection because it affects the lungs.Bronchitis causes coughing and shortness of breath, and can have both allergic and infectious causes by viruses or bacteria. Understand better what bronchitis is and the main types.

6. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is the infection of the lungs and pulmonary alveoli, which can cause production of intense secretion, cough, shortness of breath and fever. It is usually caused by bacteria, but it can also be caused by viruses or fungi.

7. COVID-19

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and can cause a mild respiratory infection, with symptoms such as general malaise and fever, or a more severe infection, with severe coughing and difficulty breathing. See the main symptoms of COVID-19 and how to identify them.

8. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a type of infection of the lungs caused by the bacterium Koch's bacillus, which causes a chronic, gradual inflammation, with cough, fever, weight loss and weakness, which can become serious if treatment is not followed. soon done.Know how to identify the symptoms of tuberculosis and how to treat it.

How the treatment is done

Treatment of respiratory infection depends on its cause and the severity of the infection. Therefore, rest, analgesics and antipyretics, such as Dipyrone or Paracetamol, and plenty of hydration throughout the day are usually recommended.

Antibiotics such as Amoxicillin or Azithromycin, for example, are only indicated in cases of suspected bacterial infection, which is more common in situations of high fever, when the infection persists for more than 7-10 days or when there is pneumonia.

On the other hand, antifungals can also be used, but only when there is a suspicion that the cause of the infection is by fungi.

In addition, people admitted to the hospital may need respiratory physiotherapy to remove lung secretions and thus relieve the discomfort caused by the disease.

How to avoid

To avoid respiratory infections, it is recommended to avoid crowded places, contact with infected people and always wash your hands and avoid putting objects in your nose or mouth, as these are the main forms of contagion.

It is also recommended to keep the immune system balanced, which is facilitated with a balanced diet, rich in vegetables, grains and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, present in fruits. In addition, avoiding very humid environments, with excess dust, molds and mites is recommended to avoid allergies, which can be accompanied by an infection.

Check out some attitudes that help to avoid respiratory diseases.

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