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Upper respiratory tract infections 

Upper respiratory tract infections
Chapter:
Upper respiratory tract infections
Author(s):

P. Little

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0402
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date: 05 March 2021

Acute upper respiratory tract infections include acute pharyngitis/tonsillitis and acute rhinitis. Acute sinusitis, acute otitis media, and influenza also come under the umbrella of infections of the upper respiratory tract. Otitis media and influenza will be discussed elsewhere: this chapter concentrates on acute pharyngitis/tonsillitis, acute rhinitis, and acute sinusitis. Acute upper respiratory tract infections are one of the commonest reason for patients to seek medical advice in the United Kingdom, and nearly all cases are managed in primary care. Respiratory tract infections are also the commonest reason for antibiotics to be prescribed, leading to serious concern that the inappropriate use of antibiotics for predominantly self-limiting conditions will foster the development of antibiotic resistance, with the danger that serious infections will become untreatable. Thus it is currently an international priority to discourage the use of antibiotics where there is poor evidence of their efficacy.

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