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Acute URI Treatment Overview

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Care Plan

1

First steps to consider

  • Most upper respiratory infections, like colds and sore throats, can be treated at home.
  • You can treat symptoms by drinking lots of fluids, rest, and taking OTC medications like decongestants and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
2

When you may need a provider

  • Symptoms are really bad or not going away after 7–10 days.
  • You have a fever for more than 3 days that does not improve when taking fever-reducing medication (like Tylenol).

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When you may need a care provider

You may need to see a healthcare provider if your acute upper respiratory infection (URI) symptoms, like congestion and cough, are bad or not going away after 7–10 days. Also, if you have a fever for more than 3 days that does not improve by taking Tylenol or other fever-reducing medication, see a doctor. A lasting fever may be a sign of a bacterial infection that needs to be treated with an antibiotic.

What to expect from your doctor visit

  • A healthcare provider can make sure you don’t have a bacterial infection, like sinusitis or bacterial bronchitis.
  • They can recommend prescription medications to treat symptoms that may be getting worse due to a cold virus, like a cough.

Types of providers that treat URIs

  • A primary care provider can treat a URI and related symptoms.
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