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Upper respiratory tract infection or URI is a term which describes a group of infections affecting the nose, sinuses, throat and bronchi. Common cold can be considered a prototype for this type of infections.

Causes and symptoms

URI is a common ailment in the modern world, especially during cold days. Most people suffered from an upper respiratory infection at least once in their life and it is not rare for a person to suffer from it several times a year.

These infections are mostly caused by viruses. The most common viruses responsible for them are rhinovirus, parainfluenza virus, coronavirus, adenovirus, and others. Influenza is considered to be a systemic illness and it is differentiated from other upper respiratory tract infections.

The most common symptoms of URI include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, headache, pain or pressure in sinuses, cough, fatigue, and fever.


Since in most of the cases it is a virus that causes an upper respiratory tract infection, there is no use of administering antibiotics, because they have no effect on viruses. The treatment is usually focused on relieving the symptoms and accelerating the recovery time. A number of homeopathic remedies can be used effectively for this purpose.For example, aconite napellus is a remedy especially recommended for early stages of colds and similar infections or when the onset of the illness is sudden and intense.

Allium cepa is indicated when a person suffers from itchy, watery eyes, irritation to the nose and throat and sneezing.

For frequent colds, chest pain and sore throat problems along with fatigue and anxiety, the remedy of choice should be arsenicum album. After using this remedy the symptoms may suddenly worsen, especially in the middle of the night, but they will soon subside and go away completely.

People who often catch colds because of the cold weather and chills should use baryta carbonica. It is also indicated for swollen lymph nodes and tonsils.

Belladonna is particularly recommended for use as soon as the cold sets in with severe symptoms.

Ferrum phosphoricum has the ability to stop an upper respiratory tract infection if taken as soon as the symptoms start.

Gelsemium is recommended for symptoms like fatigue, drowsiness, fever and chills, burning or pressure in the sinus area. This remedy is also useful for upper respiratory infections that occur during hot weather.

For later stages of infection, with thick mucus and difficult expectoration the recommended remedy is kali bichromicum.

Phosphorus is indicated for people whose upper respiratory tract infections easily spread to chest as well.

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