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Acute Respiratory Infection – Causes, Treatment & More

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Acute Respiratory Infection

Acute Respiratory Infection – Causes, Treatment & More

Acute respiratory infection (ARI) is a type of infection, which causes trouble in breathing function. It usually occurs in the upper respiratory tract, which contains the nose, throat, etc.

According to the WHO, more than 1.5 million deaths occur annually from respiratory infections. This includes 24 percent of upper respiratory infections in developing countries.

There are various types of acute upper respiratory infections (URIs), such as common cold, sinusitis, pharyngitis, and epiglottitis. For children, seniors, and patients with immune system disorder, acute respiratory infection may cause serious health issues.

Major Symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infection

Listed below are some of the common acute respiratory infection symptoms-

  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headaches

However, some patients may experience trouble breathing, dizziness, and unconsciousness. In such cases, it’s recommended to talk to a licensed doctor to seek professional help.

Acute Respiratory Infection Causes

There are several reasons for the development of acute respiratory infection. These may vary for upper and lower respiratory infections.

Causes of upper respiratory infection are

  • Acute pharyngitis
  • Common cold
  • Parainfluenza virus
  • Human metapneumovirus
  • Adenovirus
  • Rhinovirus

Causes of lower respiratory infection are

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Bronchiolitis

Risk Factors Associated With Acute Respiratory Infection

Acute respiratory infections are caused by viruses and bacteria. And, it’s hard to prevent yourself from these. 

ARIs spread through respiratory droplets from an infected person to a healthy person. The virus is transmitted when someone who is sick sneezes or coughs without using a tissue. People in crowded places such as institutions, hospitals, etc. are at a high risk of infections.

Children and older adults are more likely to experience acute respiratory infections. This is because their immune systems are more prone to viruses. Children may get infected by coming in contact with other children carrying viruses at school or other public settings. 

Moreover, patients with lung problems or heart disease are more likely to experience acute respiratory infections. Smokers and individuals with weakened immune systems are also at risk.

Treatment For Acute Respiratory Infection

Since acute respiratory infections are caused by several viruses, there’s not a particular treatment. Talk to a licensed doctor to seek professional help for managing your infection. After evaluating your condition carefully, the doctor will prescribe you medications.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has advised the public to stay at home. So, going out isn’t safe. However, you can talk to a doctor online for respiratory infection treatment. It’s 100 percent safe. The doctor will provide you with a prescription letter in PDF format via email. 

The complete process to get medical advice through telemedicine is-

  • Sign up an account
  • See a doctor online via HIPAA-compliant software
  • Receive your prescription letter in PDF format through email

Home Remedies For ARI


Ginger has amazing anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in fighting respiratory infections. It’s also effective in improving circulation in the lungs. For quick effects, you can chop ginger into pieces, boil it, add honey, and drink. Additionally, you can make ginger tea by boiling a few slices in water.


Inhaling steam is another great home remedy for respiratory infections. Boil the water and add camphor. Inhale the steam for at least 20 minutes to get open the blocked respiratory tracts. This treatment is effective in lubricating the respiratory tract and is often suggested by medical experts. However, it’s not recommended for children and hypertension patients.


Honey can provide relief from respiratory infections. It contains amazing antibacterial properties, which can help in killing bacteria and viruses that cause infection. Honey is also effective for sore throat and cough.

You can give honey to children with infections. Add some honey in warm water and give it to your children at least two times a day. You can also replace water with milk. 

Salt Water Gargle 

Gargling with warm salt water is another effective home remedy. Add one teaspoon of salt to warm water, and gargle twice a day. This will clear the nasal passages and provide quick relief.

Healthy Habits to Boost Respiratory Health

Stop Smoking

Smoking can increase the risks of respiratory infections. In fact, it can lead to lung diseases, such as asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, etc.

When you smoke, a wide range of harmful chemicals are inhaled into the lungs. They may inflame tissues, thus making it difficult to breathe. Research says that smoking causes 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths.

Although quitting smoking isn’t easy, it’s worth it. Counseling and medications can help you get off smoking fast.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can also help improve respiratory health. When you exercise, your heart beats at a faster rate, supplying oxygen to the muscles, thus making lungs to work actively.

A recent article states that exercising increases breathing to 40-60 times a minute from 15 times a minute. This improves respiratory function and boosts lung health. Moreover, it can help people fight the conditions that are more likely to occur with age.


Also Read- Learn About These Amazing Benefits of Regular Exercise

Eat Healthy Foods

Eating nutrient-rich foods can help you prevent respiratory infections. Fruits and fresh vegetables contain antioxidants, which provide ultimate protection against viruses and bacteria and fight free radicals as well. Papaya, pomegranates, beetroot, yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, and carrots are good sources of vitamins and minerals, which are effective in boosting immunity. You should also add protein-rich foods such as boiled eggs, lentil soup, chicken soup, etc. in your daily diet.

Additionally, herbs such as ginger have ultimate anti-inflammatory effects that can help in fighting respiratory infections. So, consider eating them every day.

Practice Good Hygiene

It’s clear that respiratory infections occur when a healthy person comes in close contact with an infected person. So, it’s important to maintain good hygiene to stay safe. Follow the tips listed below-

  • Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after returning from a crowded place.
  • Sneeze or cough in the elbow. Or, you can use a tissue to cover your nose or face. This will help prevent the spread of viruses.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This will protect yourself from viruses.

The Takeaway

Acute respiratory infection is caused by viruses and bacteria. It’s common among children and older adults as their immune systems are more prone to infections. Some of the best home remedies for respiratory infections are honey, ginger, inhaling steam, and saltwater gargle.

However, you can prevent acute respiratory infection by practicing some techniques. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose since viruses are transmitted through respiratory droplets. Wash your hands with soap and water regularly. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and avoid smoking to reduce the risks of respiratory infections.Talk to a licensed doctor to get respiratory infection treatment.