Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI)

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What is Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI)?

ARI stands for an acute respiratory infection. It refers to the condition of infection and inflammation of the upper or lower respiratory tract, such as the nose to the lungs. Acute Respiratory Infection generally causes symptoms such as common cold and flu. 

Since Acute Respiratory Infection is caused by a virus, it is easily transmitted and can affect anyone. However, children and the elderly are more susceptible to develop Acute Respiratory Infection. Some types of Acute Respiratory Infection diseases include common cold, acute laryngitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, and COVID-19.

Causes of Acute Respiratory Infection

In most cases, Acute Respiratory Infection is not only caused by viruses, but also bacteria. There are several types of viruses that cause Acute Respiratory Infection: rhinovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, influenza virus, coronavirus, and respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV).

Meanwhile, several types of bacteria that can cause Acute Respiratory Infection are Haemophilus, chlamydia, streptococcus, staphylococcus aureus, corynebacterium diphtheria, and mycoplasma pneumonia.

Transmission of Acute Respiratory Infection occurs through droplets that contain viruses or bacteria from an infected person. The virus or bacteria has the ability to spread through the air and then enter your nose or mouth. 

Viruses or bacteria can also be spread through contaminated objects and shaking hands with people infected with Acute Respiratory Infection.

There are several factors that increase the risk of getting Acute Respiratory Infection, such as:

  • Age factor

Children and the elderly are more susceptible to Acute Respiratory Infection because they have weaker immune systems. Moreover, children tend to care less about their personal hygiene and have a lot of physical contacts when they play with their peers. 

  • Weak immune system

Not only children and the elderly, adults are also susceptible to Acute Respiratory Infection if their immune system is weak. 

  • Active smoker

Cigarettes bring negative impacts to the function of your lungs and respiratory tract. Active smokers are more susceptible to contracting Acute Respiratory Infection and harder to recover

  • History of other diseases

You are more susceptible to develop Acute Respiratory Infection if you have underlying conditions or other health problems, such as people with heart and lung problems.

When to See a Doctor for Acute Respiratory Infection

If your symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infection do not improve after treatment such as applying compression to your head and taking paracetamol, seek medical attention immediately–particularly if you start having other serious symptoms such as chills, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, and decreased consciousness. 

Your child requires immediate medical care if they show symptoms such as: 

  • They tend to be quiet and inactive
  • They vomit
  • Stridor (high-pitched sound) is heard when they inhale and / or exhale
  • They have trouble breathing, which can be seen from the way their ribs are sucking in with each breath

Your doctor will examine your nose, ear, and throat area for possible infection and examine your breath using a stethoscope. This is done to monitor if there is a fluid buildup or inflammation in the lungs.

Moreover, your doctor will also use pulse oximetry to check the oxygen saturation level in your body if you also experience shortness of breath. 

In some cases, if the Acute Respiratory Infection is suspected to be caused by a certain germ, your doctor may take sputum samples or perform throat swab culture, which later will be examined in the laboratory. If the infection is in the lungs,  your doctor may perform an X-ray of your chest or CT scan to examine your lungs more clearly.

Symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infection

Certain health conditions that indicate Acute Respiratory Infection may include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, shortness of breath, headache, muscle pain, and fever.

These health problems may last for 1-2 weeks. In most cases, symptoms tend to improve after the first week.

Treatment for Acute Respiratory Infection

Your doctor may prescribe medications to relieve symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infection, such as: 

  • Cough medicine
  • Antibiotics, if the Acute Respiratory Infection is caused by bacteria
  • Ibuprofen or paracetamol helps relieve muscle pain and fever
  • Diphenhydramine and pseudoephedrine helps treat colds and nasal congestion

Treatment Cost for Acute Respiratory Infection

Treatment cost for Acute Respiratory Infection may vary depending on the severity and examination required. To help you calculate the estimated treatment cost for Acute Respiratory Infection, find hospital recommendations, and make appointments with doctors at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.

Prevention of Acute Respiratory Infection

Since Acute Respiratory Infection is caused by viruses or bacteria, you can protect yourself by adopting a healthy lifestyle by applying the following methods:  

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after doing outdoor activities or attending public places
  • Consume foods rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid touching your face to avoid the spread of viruses and bacteria
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing with a handkerchief or tissue. 
  • Get vaccinated per your doctor’s instructions, either the MMR vaccine, influenza, or pneumonia

Home Remedies for Acute Respiratory Infection

Acute Respiratory Infection can resolve on its own without special treatment. However, there are several ways you can do from home to relieve symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infection, including: 

  • Drink a lot of water. Fluids can thin the mucus and help the sinuses to drain.
  • Drink honey or warm lemon water. Honey and warm lemon water can help relieve coughs.
  • Saltwater gargle–if you have a sore throat. Use warm water to dissolve the salt.
  • Inhale hot water rising out of steam. Mix the warm water with eucalyptus oil or other essential oils that contain menthol to relieve nasal congestion.
  • Sleep with your head elevated. This helps your breathing. You can use extra pillows to lift your head above the body during sleep.

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