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Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Class Nursing Health Care Hospital Hygiene Higher secondary school College Notes

Upper respiratory infections

The upper respiratory system is the part above the trachea, Common respiratory infections (U.R.I) include, the common cold, influenza, or FLU, pharyngitis and tonsillitis.

Upper respiratory infections:


The upper respiratory system is the part above the trachea, Common respiratory infections (U.R.I) include, the common cold, influenza, or FLU, pharyngitis and tonsillitis. They tend to spread rapidly within 1 to 6 days of incubation period.


Viruses cause common cold and FLU. Getting cold or wet do not cause these sickness but they may be made worse by getting wet.


Signs and symptoms:


1.     Dry, sore throat


2.     Sneezing


3.     Running or blocked nose.


4.     Headache, fever and cough.


5.     Pains in the joints (in the flu)


The symptoms may last for few days. In babies and young children if not treated properly they may lead to complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis etc.


Treatment and nursing care:


1.     Bed rest and warmth.


2.     Plenty of liquids to drink. Orange juice or lemonade are helpful.


3.     Aspirin tablets may be given. Antibiotics do not help in virus infections.


4.     Steam inhalation helps to clear a blocked nose. Decongestant nasal drops may be prescribed.


5.     The nose should be cleaned frequently. Warn people not to sniff or blow the nose vigorously.





This may be a symptom of cold or flu, or it may be a bacterial infection of the tonsils.


Signs and symptoms:


red swollen tonsils


draining pus from the tonsils .




Pain in the throat


Difficulty in swallowing.


Cough with some sputum and vomiting.


Enlarged lymph glands under the jaw


Treatment and nursing care:


Aspirin tablets may be prescribed to relieve the pain.


Tablets penicillin or penicillin injections if there is bacterial infection.


Warm saline gargles (one teaspoon salt added to a tumbler of warm water)


If there is no improvement in 3 days, or if a gray membrane is seen on the tonsils (sign of diphtheria), the patient must be referred to a doctor.




This is an acute infection of the lungs caused by bacteria or viruses. When the infection affects both the bronchi and lungs, it is known as bronchopneumonia. Pneumonia is often a complication of measles, whooping cough, asthma or upper respiratory tract infection (U.R.I) and is especially dangerous in children.


Signs and symptoms:


Rapid, shallow breathing, sometimes with wheezing.


Nasal flaring


Cough with sputum, which might be blood stained or with yellowish mucus.




There may be cyanosis.


Treatment and nursing care:


Tablet Penicillin or injection Ampicillin for 5 days.


Plenty of liquids including water.


Aspirin will help to reduce fever.


Support the head and shoulders with pillows, and turn position every hour.


Steam inhalations may be given to relieve cough and loosen bronchial secretions.


Preventive and control measures:


Never neglect a common cold.


Avoid over crowding


Sleep in a well ventilated room


Educate mothers to burp babies after giving feeds


When a child has measles, whooping cough etc, try to prevent pneumonia by proper treatment and care.


If pneumonia develops start treatment as quickly a possible.


The sputum of the patients should be carefully discarded after proper disinfection.




This is a virus infection of the parotid glands (parotitis). The source of infection is the saliva and it is spread by droplet infection or fomite.

Signs and symptoms:


Symptoms usually begin 2 or 3 weeks after contact with an infected person


Mild fever


Pain on opening the mouth or eating.


Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)


A soft swelling appears below the ears at the angle of the jaw. It may affect unilaterally or bilaterally.


The swelling usually resolves in about 10 days with out any treatment.


Treatment and nursing care:


1.Bed rest


2.Tablet Aspirin can be given for pain and fever. 3.Give plenty of water etc to drink


4.Soft food for easy digestion


5.Ice packs or cold wet clothes may be applied to help reduce pain and swelling.


6.If signs of meningitis appear (high fever, confusion, irritation convulsion) get medical help immediately.


Prevention and control:


Isolate the infected person from others








Tuberculosis (TB):


This is a chronic infectious disease caused by the tubercle bacillus. When the infected person coughs, droplets of his sputum go into the air and are breathed in by healthy persons. If a person has immunity against the disease, he may get only a primary lesion in the lung, which may heal without treatment.


In others, especially children and those who are weak and poorly nourished and people with low immunity, the disease affects and manifest the signs and symptoms of tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis usually affect the lungs (pulmonary tuberculosis). Sometimes it may attack other parts of the body such as the lymph glands in the neck, intestines, uterus, bones brain etc.


Signs and symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis:


Loss of weight.


Cough with sputum


Mild fever in the evening, and sweating at night.




chest pain


dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing)


haemoptysis (spitting of blood in sputum




Sputum smear for acidfast bacilli (AFB)


X ray chest.


Treatment and nursing care:


The drugs used in the treatment of Tuberculosis are:


Injection Streptomycin


Tablet Isoniazid (1. N. H)


Tablet Rifamycin


Tablet Thiacetazone.


T.B germs do not die easily. They will be killed only with continued specific treatment for a prescribed time. Besides the anti tuberculosis treatment (ATT) as above, it is also important to:


Advice to eat a balanced diet rich in proteins and vitamins as well as energy foods.


Advice to have enough rest and sleep. It is best to avoid heavy work and doing things that cause fatigue.


Preventive and Control measures:


Early diagnosis and immediate treatment to prevent the spread of infection.


Screen the whole family for identifying infection.


Vaccinate the children with B.C.G.

The infected person should be isolated from others


The infected person should cover his mouth when coughing and use a covered cup to receive the sputum.


He should burn the sputum or dispose it in a safe way.


Educate the community as to how the infection can be prevented


Inform that the facilities are available for diagnosis and treatment at free of cost in government hospitals.



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11th 12th std standard Class Nursing Health Care Hospital Hygiene Higher secondary school College Notes : Upper respiratory infections |

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