URTI: Prevention and Complications

Prevention Tips

  •  Reduce contact with people who may have the infection (people may carry and spread the virus a few days before they have symptoms and a few days after their symptoms have resolved);
  • Proper cleaning of common objects (fomites) that are touched by individuals who may be infectious such as, telephones, refrigerator door, computers, stair railings, door handles, etc.;
  • Covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; and vaccination with flu vaccine as recommended for certain people (elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, health care workers, etc.)
  • Unless ventilation is good, avoid shared space with people who are ill with infections spread through tiny-droplets.
  • Wash your hands after greeting someone with a viral infection or after handling an object held by someone infected. 
  • Encourage children to wash their hands. Kids are more likely than adults to spread infection within a family.
  • Keep at distance to people who are coughing, sneezing or have a ‘runny nose’, and when appropriate wear (or ask them to wear) a disposable mask.
  • Wash hands regularly, before meals, and after direct contact with potentially contagious people, animals, blood, secretions, public places and bathrooms
  • • Do not share drinking bottles, cups, towels, etc with other infected people. WASHING HANDS AND SNEEZING

Watch Out

  • Coughing blood
  • Sputum (phlegm) becomes dark or rusty coloured

When to See Doctor

When to call a doctor
Most URTIs do not cause complications. A URTI may trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Consult a doctor if symptoms do not start to ease within a few days, or if you suspect that a complication is developing.
  • If fever, wheezing or headaches become worse or severe
  • If you develop: fast breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pains
  • If you cough up blood or if your sputum (phlegm) becomes dark or rusty coloured
  • If a cough persists for longer than 3-4 weeks
  • If you have recurring bouts of URTI

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