Do you end up developing an endless flow of respiratory infections? You’re most likely asking why you continue to become ill and whether you need to consult a doctor. This article aims to discuss the meaning of a respiratory infection, its common signs and symptoms, its causes, and why you must consult a doctor.
Although respiratory infections are frequently considered a nuisance, it is important to treat recurrences seriously. If there is no clear explanation regarding why they are occurring, conduct a thorough examination.
What is a respiratory infection?
If the infection is developed inside the respiratory tract, it’s known as a respiratory disease. The upper respiratory tract (the nose, sinuses, mouth, pharynx, and larynx) or the lower respiratory tract (the trachea, bronchial tubes, and lungs) may be affected.
The common types of respiratory infections include:
- Common cold
Know the signs and symptoms of respiratory infection
The symptoms of a respiratory infection will vary based on the type of infection and whether it is in the upper or lower respiratory tract (lower respiratory infections typically last longer and are more severe).
The common signs and symptoms of respiratory infection may include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Pain while swallowing
- Coughing with or without phlegm
- Body ache
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Chest pain
Associated signs and symptoms
Additional symptoms may increase the severity of recurrent infections. Here is the list of associated signs and symptoms:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Coughing up blood
- Persistent cough
- Prolonged chest pain
- Faster breathing
- Prolonged shortness of breath
- Finger clubbing (ends of the fingers appear like an upside-down spoon) – It could be due to a serious underlying lung ailment like lung cancer
You may get recurrent respiratory infections due to the following causes:
- Frequent exposure to germs or environmental irritants like dust, pollen, chemical fumes, secondhand smoke, etc.
- Sleep deprivation
- Conditions (asthma, COPD, nasal polyps, cystic fibrosis, deviated septum, heart disease, lung cancer, HIV)
- Winter season
When should you visit a doctor?
If you think that your frequent respiratory infections may be brought on by stress, lack of sleep, exposures to germs or environmental irritants, or other factors, try addressing those factors and check if the symptoms get better on their own. If not, make sure to consult a doctor.
A doctor can tell you what makes you more likely to get respiratory infections and help you take the steps to reduce that risk. In addition, if it turns out that your recurrent infections are caused by an undiagnosed health condition, your doctor can provide you with individualized treatment recommendations.
You will get rid of most respiratory infections in 7-14 days with over-the-counter prescriptions, enough rest, and consuming a lot of water. If you are getting infected repeatedly and can’t pinpoint the reason, check in with your primary care physician.
Make sure to schedule an appointment with the doctor if you:
- Are pregnant
- Are below 5 years old or above 65 years old
- Cough up blood
- Find your symptoms getting worsened or remain for more than 3 weeks
Underlying health conditions such as diabetes, kidney ailments, lung ailments, heart ailments, or cancer
The need for timely diagnosis
Our bodies use symptoms to tell us something is wrong. Healthcare providers are human beings who do not have the advantage of constantly being inside your body. Consider seeking a second or third opinion if you are concerned but your healthcare provider is not. Being concerned in the first place—what medical professionals refer to as “having a high index of suspicion”—is necessary for diagnosing an underlying cause of recurrent respiratory infections.
A Word from DLW
If you’ve been dealing with recurrent respiratory infections for some time, finding the right cause can be overwhelming. A timely visit to your doctor can often help you narrow down the possible causes and get a quick diagnosis, which can help you feel less anxious.
Connect with DLW for respiratory pathogen panel (RPP) and allergy test so that doctors can get quick and accurate results while proceeding with the right treatment.
In addition to improving your quality of life and reducing the likelihood of damage to your airways, it is essential to address the underlying causes. Recurrent diseases can cause devastation to your own, social, and professional lives.
Anxiety that people aren’t even aware they have can sometimes be reduced by having a timely diagnosis or, at the very least, knowing that there isn’t an underlying cause.