What is an upper respiratory infection (URI)? | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , /

– [Voiceover] OK, so it’s
going to become more apparent, I’m sure, as you hear
my voice in this video, but I do not feel well and I’ll
tell you, but particularly, I guess why I don’t feel well. So this is me, I’m
drawing, 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 because
I 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 fever
and that’s in Fahrenheit, so that’s actually about a
38.8 degrees Celsius fever. And the reason I have all
of these terrible symptoms, excuse me, is because I have
an upper respiratory infection. So let me write that in for us, “upper respiratory, respiratory
infection, infection.” Or sometimes this is
shortened to URI, URI. And so, that’s what I want to talk about. I want to talk about upper
respiratory infection, so let’s start by thinking
about what an infection is. Well, an infection, let
me get the right pen, is a disease causing agent, so an infection is a disease
causing agent that’s going to come in and it’s going to
invade our host tissue, so in me, my cells, it’s
going to invade those cells and it’s going to cause a reaction. And in the case of upper
respiratory 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 little
chain cut out of bacteria, or viruses, so this would be a virus, this is kind of a classic
little 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 actually
a 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’re
going to breathe through, so let’s think about where
the air that’s going to go, eventually down into our lungs
here, 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 infected
by something, we have rhinitis. So, rhi, rhinitis, yeah
right, 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 where
the 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 go
down, the respiratory tract, underneath the pharynx, we actually have a little flap that covers… That, sorry, protects
the airway in the back coming in the bottom back of our throat, it protects our airway or our esophagus, respectively when we’re
either swallowing food or breathing in air and that
little flap, kind of, in the bottom back of our throat
is 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 vocal
cords, 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 respiratory
tract, but in a case of upper respiratory infection,
sometimes included is the top part of the trachea, which is going to eventually kind
of 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 description
of inflammation. When something becomes inflamed
and that’s what happening, that’s what’s causing
some 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 disease
causing agents are a virus. That’s kind of the majority of
upper respiratory infections. And of those viruses, which
are already the majority, the majority of viruses
are 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, you
have rhinovirus, probably. And you can imagine that
with the same kind of root, that rhino root, that this
virus 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 upper
respiratory 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 are
viruses like the coronavirus, corona, the adenovirus and really, there are more than 200 different viruses that can cause an upper
respiratory 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 common
of those is streptococcus. I’m going to shorten that to strep. Streptococcus, it’s a line
of these little coccaceae, these spherical kind
of ball-shaped bacteria and there are a few different
forms of streptococcus. There’s strep A, there’s
strep 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 my
body as I’m speaking to you. And I mentioned to you that my current upper respiratory infection
is causing me some symptoms and, really you can
think that these symptoms are a direct result of the infection and subsequent inflammation
caused 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 with
that is that your body, as part of that inflammatory response, is trying to clear these
disease 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 mucus
accumulates, 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 traveling
down he back of your throat, from your nasal cavity and
irritating your throat even more or it’s going to come,
kind of, out of your nose. And that would be the
runny side of the symptoms and you’re also going to have
like I said, that sore throat. So, sore throat and as these little agents invade these cells, they kill these cells. These bacteria will, you
know, jump inside these cells and so will these viruses and
they’re destroy these cells. So it actually is hurting our body and that’s part of that
soreness that we’re feeling. So we might have a sore throat. And another kind of big, hallmark sign of the inflammatory response to
infection is a fever, a fever. And again, I really did
just check my temperature and it was 101.8, so I’m not
feeling super, super well. Now, if you had to guess how
I came about this particular strep A infection, what
might you guess as a reason? Why do you think I got strep A into my upper respiratory tract so
that it could infect it? Well, I’ll tell you that one thing I do and you do probably a
whole 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 and
I touch my mouth frequently. All the time throughout the day. And I also a lot of other things. I touch doors, I touch
objects around the room, I touch other people and I
probably got a handy amount of these germs on my
hand and put them right on the entrance to my
upper respiratory tract. So I put them right on my
nares, that’s the nostrils, and right on my mouth, which
opens 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 parts
all 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 respiratory
infections are transmitted. With hand-to-hand contact
and kind of through the air. But, really both of these are really, really heavily preventable. So, with hand-to-hand
contact, if I wash my hands a whole lot, so hand
washing, hand washing. I can try to get some of
these germs off my hands A: Before I touch my mouth and B: Before I touch other people, which is going to prevent a lot
of this transmission. Also, when I do cough or
when 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 to
prevent those particles from flying throughout
the air and then lastly, some of these infections,
like the influenza virus, there are actually vaccines against, so that’s why we get flu
shots and that can prevent me from getting it and also from, you know, potentially spreading
it if I were to get it. But, to be honest,
preventing these illnesses is not what I’m most worried
about right now because I already have my upper
respiratory infection. Now, I’m worried about
treatment, how do I feel better? So, let me write “treatment” down for us. And I’ll tell you that
really, with a lot of these, since, again, the majority
are caused by viruses, there isn’t a specific
treatment to kill these viruses. We kind of have to let our
body’s immune system identify and start to kind of
attack back against these and we kind of have to wait it out. So, a lot of the treatment is
going to be really supportive. One of the things we can
do is we can hydrate, we can drink lots of
clear fluids like water. Hydrate and hydration is
going to do two things for us. One, it’s going to replete, it’s going to replace a lot of the fluids
that we’ve probably lost. One of the things that
our body is trying to do is it’s trying to get
rid 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 mucus
that’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 try
to relieve the symptoms, so with treatment I’m going
to put in symptom relief. So I can do things like suck on a lozenge that might have a little
bit of menthol in it or something that’s going to
make my throat feel better. I might use an over-the-counter
nasal decongestant. So, I’ve got a congested nose and I might decongest it to allow some
of that mucus to flow out. If I had a fever like I do right now and I actually did this symptom
relief, I took some Tylenol. You can get over-the-counter
Tylenol or ibuprofen. Something that has some
antipyretic that’s really, I’ll write that up here, antipyretic. That’s kind of a fancy word
for fever buster, antipyretic. So a medicine that has an
antipyretic 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 of
rest 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 or
lifting 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 upper
respiratory 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.

62 thoughts on “What is an upper respiratory infection (URI)? | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

  1. Have this now 🙁 I went to the dr cause I've been coughing for a week and my throat has been killing me. I'm happy I have medicine now lol.

  2. Go this shit right now….ugh literally been awake now this is day 5. Haven't eaten a crumb of food in 3 days. Body is so fatigued I can't fall asleep to save my life




  4. thanks man my dad is a personal body trailer and physical and mental medical training and he told me I had an upper respiratory infection. I didn't know what that really meant, so this really helped

  5. My opinion is THEY HAVE CURES for everything I bet in some ARMY top secret lab in a VAULT like in the movie OUTBREAK but; the creeps who have these cures also all forms of lethal CANCER probably have huge stocks in all the pharmacuetical companies and all the counter medication companies as well? One cannot PROFIT from war if you eliminate the ENEMY ;can you? So I am sure there are probably 5000 to maybe more cures in huge vials in refrigeration somewhere to be released but that would end the PROFIT KACHING $$$ for all these trillions of dollars in both over the counter and not over the counter not to mention Hospitals and doctors and etc etc etc ? PS I have the upper respiratory infection and KNOW EXACTLY how I got it 1 trillion percent and not from anybody FROM CHINA believe it or not yup got it 3 times from a medicine from CHINA which means QC is pretty bad in CHINA for medicines ?""WHAT —-WE ONLY LET DOGS in on Saturday & LING-GHONG get that Lizard off da mixing tables hurry hurry!!!""" Actually never ever goes to the chest or throat amazing only in the SINUS period —GOD I wish all influenza was like this ?

  6. You can get this shit for sure in all AIRLINERS all Domestic and might even get EBOLA on International carriers—- close cell system of air circulation as well as NIGHT CLUBS and open drinks —got good hard core flu in OCT at Techno club good old Trash can drink but 100s of guys & girls you name it and walla the ventilation system blasting cool air from recirculation right into my booze and got sich day later. However the did GERM count in AIRPLANE yeah kind you take to those magical cities thinking you will meet MR or MRS right forget it gonna meet some GERM either from JET airliner or that so called HOTEL ROOM …think those MEXICAN really sterilize those sinks or toiler think again? And jet aircraft like dirtier than MEXICAN WHORE HOUSE bed? IN TIAJUANA for real! I worked for DELTA long ago & trust me nasty dirty dirty!

  7. :(I'm experiencing same thing I'm misrable my cough is killing me:(second stronger from of antibiotics still I cough I got dr syrup but it's calming it temporary I hate this infection I don't even know how I got it:(I think from fast book contamination 3 week sick:(

  8. Shout out to everybody who has to go through this. Stay in there guys. One day we'll be able to breath throughout our noise and mouths.

  9. I have a bacterial uri. The doctor gave me cough syrup and antibiotics today, I've had on and off fevers and have probably lost a little weight because I haven't been able to eat much for the past 5-6 days and have a constant cough. This sucks 😷

  10. Eight days and almost gone!! Chew on ginger to stop cough, don't talk, & drink tea!! (Also on worst day played game on phone where you create a virus & it mutates/spreads around the world… it was strangely satisfying)

  11. It's been driving me crazy since I'm a singer and it scares me 😓😓😓😓😓😓😓😓😫😫😫😫😫😫

  12. i've had an URI a few times before, and unfortunately am going through one right now..

    what i find bizarre, is that 1. i'm a healthy 18 year old (plant-based healthy — yeah.. healthy) and 2. i'm active (an all-around athlete and active person in general.. i do yoga, ice skate, play basketball, sing, dance, swim..) and YET, this is approx. my 4th URI (even before being vegan, i got this inf.)!!

    ..however, i have found that when i overexert in activities (sports, outdoors-y things, etc.) AND am exposed to external extremities (dust, pollution) AND am deprived of healthy sleep (as in circadian rhythm sleep), i tend to catch these.. so, it's not so bizarre when i think about it.. but still..

    ..anyone else been prescribed amoxicillin? i didn't take it my last URI bc i was really not keen on the idea of using pharmaceutical drugs (as a natural health, holistic med. advocate) — however, this time around i am taking it bc i want to see the difference in results (and i coughed up bloody mucus, sooo there's that incentive)..

  13. i had a respiratory infection, then it turned into bronchitis, then the bronchitis turned into pneumonia ,then i got anti biotics

  14. I was told that I have a URI. My mom thinks it’s not, my lungs hurt and BURN. It feels like there’s a furry animal rolling around and scratching in my throat. It hurts so bad, I’m in so much pain and uncomfortably feeling like death

  15. I'm not sure if this is relevant here, and I'm sure all of you had this but I have this sour kinda feeling in the back of my mouth. It feels bad and when I drink water or eat food it feels really sour. It happens when I get a cold. Can someone tell me what the name of this is?? and how I could help it??

  16. I have this and I have a choir concert to do in five days I normally sing soul and litearlly not being able to sing or even speak is Horrific

  17. Every time I get sick I get this shit it's like clockwork I was so glad for a moment I didn't catch any colds or anything then that shit changed and like Jason Vorhee's this shit's back.
    It takes me like a month or so to get over this shit.

  18. Actually i am suffering from this from about last 1 year and no doctor was actually able to diagnose it so i had a tonsillectomy surgery by my doctor because they were also infected but the upper respiratory infection is not yet resolved please help its worse my upper tissues are moving i can touch those with my tip of the tounge it goes fully role in and it feely like jelly.please reply

  19. It sucks ass, last night I was trying to sleep and instead I was up half of the time blowing my nose, coughing shit up, my throat was SO sore, I couldn't breathe out of my nose AND I had a fever with chills. I went to urgent care this morning, and they prescribed me like 3 different types of Steroids to take instead of Antibiotics. Hopefully it helps. 😒

  20. I had a URI and I have asthma as well so my breathing issues are 10x worse then they were before I got a URI. Now I’m having very weird symptoms after I got off the cold. My blood pressure is higher than usual, I have nausea (but I don’t vomit), fatigue, whole body weakness, almost like chills ( but really cold) just weird symptoms that once happened when I was sick and once after I thought I was recovered. I also wake up with a really bad migraine both days. Not sure what’s wrong. I’m going to the doctor soon.

  21. This isn't fair!! I barely had a lower respiratory tract infection a few months ago during winter break and now I have an upper respiratory infection and its spring break!! Im triggered. My throat is dying im sick of this crap, send help. I had to cry so my dad would agree to take me to the doctor. I can barely talk. Ive had the symptoms for a week (then I was in school) but my stubborn ass wants to get perfect attendence .Okay sorry for wasting your time keep scrolling 👇

  22. I went to a Doctor and was diagnosed with an "Unspecified" URI…. Any Idea why a doctor wouldn't even specify what it is?
    All she gave me was a prescription for cough medicine.

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