Fri. Oct 15th, 2021

Rockford Health System

What Is A Respiratory Virus? Treatment And When To See A Doctor

4 min read
What is a respiratory virus? Do we need to go to a hospital to get treatment for these types of viruses? This article will talk about respiratory viruses, how they should be treated and when to <a href="">seek treatment from a doctor</a>.
respiratory virus

What is a respiratory virus? Do we need to go to a hospital to get treatment for these types of viruses? This article will talk about respiratory viruses, how they should be treated and when to seek treatment from a doctor.

What is a respiratory virus?

A respiratory virus is an illness that affects the nasal passage, sinuses, pharynx, and larynx. People who have respiratory viruses tend to have difficulty in breathing because the affected organs are the ones in charge of taking the air we breathe into the lungs.

What are the symptoms?

There are many symptoms that a person experiences when they have respiratory illnesses that vary from person to person. The common symptoms that usually occur are fever, runny nose, sore throat, aches and pains in various locations of the body, fatigue and the general feeling of being unwell. Not all patients who have the flu will have a fever, some will just feel feverish but may not have a temperature high enough to be considered a fever.

Treatment for respiratory diseases

Many treatments can be used to relieve the symptoms. If the respiratory issue is only mild, it will usually clear up and go away on its own after one to two weeks without the need for any medications.

respiratory virusWith the increase of fluids, it will be possible for mild respiratory viruses to go away more quickly.

When it comes to more prolonged respiratory diseases, antiviral drugs may be prescribed to help the person cope with the symptoms they are experiencing.

Keep in mind that antibiotics should never be taken because they will not work against viral infections anyway. Antibiotics will only be prescribed if there is a bacterial infection present as well.

When to go to a doctor

Symptoms of respiratory viruses are usually manageable with the use of over-the-counter medications. However, there are certain instances when the symptoms of a respiratory virus will become serious.These are the instances when a person should see their doctor or seek treatment from a hospital.

If the symptoms worsen

If existing symptoms worsen, it is a good idea to consult a doctor. The worsening symptoms may be the body’s way of signaling that the infection has gotten worse and developed into more serious viral infections.

Shortness of breath

If there is a difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, the respiratory virus may have already made its way to the lungs.


If the person seems confused, this may also be a complication of the disease. Common colds will not confuse patients.

Severe vomiting

Some patients will not be able to keep liquids or food down because of intermittent and severe vomiting.


Dehydration may occur as a result of vomiting or diarrhea. A person can tell if they are dehydrated if they pass less urine than usual and if they feel dizzy or lightheaded when they stand up for too long.

There may also be a secondary bacterial infection that is contributing to these worsening symptoms.

How respiratory viruses spread

respiratory virusThese viral diseases are spread when an infected person talks, coughs, sneezes or gets any droplets of saliva containing the infection in the air.

These droplets may land on people’s hands, face or may be breathed in by people who are nearby. The virus can get into a person’s body when they rub their eyes with hands that caught some of the droplets, or if they use their contaminated hands to eat.

The virus can spread even more if the person who caught some of these infected droplets on their hands touch another person.

Even if the second person did not have any contact with the person who actually had the flu, the virus may still be transferred to them.

Prevention methods

Respiratory viruses are highly contagious. Here are the tips for limiting them from spreading.

Frequent hand washing

Wash your hands whenever you touch something dirty after you have just come home and most especially before you eat. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands as well. Avoid rubbing your eye when you have not yet washed them.

Stay home if you feel unwell

If you feel unwell, it is a good idea to stay home and avoid contaminating anybody else. Remember that the incubation period for respiratory viruses can range from one to up to ten days, so you may not see the symptoms right away even if you already have the virus.

Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze

Use your hand, arm, tissue or handkerchief to cover your mouth when you cough to avoid getting any droplets in the air. This will prevent the viral infection from spreading.

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