Upper & Lower Respiratory Infections

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What is a respiratory infection?

A respiratory infection may interfere with your child’s normal breathing. The infection can occur in either the upper or lower respiratory system. The upper respiratory system refers to the structures from the nose up to the vocal cords, while the lower respiratory system includes the trachea (windpipe), bronchi (airways) and lungs.

Upper and lower respiratory infections can be potentially quite dangerous for young children, particularly if there are complications. For this reason, it is important to seek professional help if you notice any symptoms in your child.

What causes an infection?

Some common causes of upper respiratory infection include a common cold, an acute ear infection and acute tonsillitis. Conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia and bronchiolitis can lead to lower respiratory infection. Croup is also common in children. Infections can be due to viruses or bacteria.

What are the symptoms?

Some of the most common symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, body aches and coughing. Danger signs include a fever over 38 degrees, fast or noisy breathing or a change in colour of the lips and skin.

How can the infection be treated?

If your child displays symptoms of a respiratory infection, Dr Moodley will perform a full examination of the upper and lower respiratory tract. In cases where Dr Moodley suspects that the lower respiratory tract is infected, she may recommend an X-ray. She will prescribe medication formulated to manage his or her symptoms. In some cases, antibiotics may be necessary. Admission to hospital may be required in severe cases or should your child require special investigations and monitoring or intravenous antibiotics.



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