The respiratory system is responsible for breathing in the body and is divided into two main components:
Upper respiratory tract: Composed of the nose, the sinuses, the pharynx, and the larynx, the organs of the upper respiratory tract are located outside the chest cavity.
Lower respiratory tract: Composed of the trachea, the lungs, and all segments of the bronchial tree (including the alveoli), the organs of the lower respiratory tract are located inside the chest cavity.
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are infections that affect the airways and lungs.
There are several types of RTIs, including:
- The common cold: a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat)
- Bronchitis: an infection that causes inflammation of the bronchi (the airways that lead to the lungs)
- Pneumonia: an infection that affects the lungs and can range from mild to severe
- Sinusitis: an infection that affects the sinuses (the air-filled spaces in the bones around the nose)
RTIs are caused by a variety of microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. They can be spread through the air, by touching contaminated surfaces, or by close contact with infected individuals.
Symptoms of RTIs vary depending on the type of infection and the severity. They can include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
Diagnosis of RTIs typically involves a physical examination and may include tests such as chest X-ray or blood tests.
Treatment for RTIs depends on the underlying cause and can range from over-the-counter medication for mild symptoms to antibiotics for bacterial infections.
To discuss diagnosis and treatment options, please book an appointment with our specialist.
To learn more about RTIs, please click on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/respiratory-tract-infection/
Dr Ibrahim Yahli MD MRCPsych