Respiratory Infections

There are two types of respiratory infections:

  • An Upper Respiratory Infection (which impacts the area from the neck up)
  • And a Lower Respiratory Infection (which impacts the chest area).

In both cases, if symptoms persist over a period of time, head to Clear Choice Emergency Room for an immediate evaluation by a provider who can determine the severity of the infection.

An Upper Respiratory Infection affects the nose, sinuses and throat. Some infections include a cold, sinusitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis and the flu. Although upper respiratory infections can happen at any time, they are most common in the fall and winter months. This could be attributed to being the most common months of school when children and adolescents spend a lot of time in groups and inside closed doors. Upper respiratory infections also tend to thrive in low humidity conditions. The most common symptoms range from runny nose, sore throat, cough, to breathing difficulty, and lethargy.

A Lower Respiratory Infection, if not treated immediately, can lead to more serious conditions. It can spread to the lungs and affect the entire respiratory system. Once spread to the lungs, it can be particularly serious in children, older adults, or anyone with a compromised immune system.

The following are signs the infection has spread to the lungs:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • A persistent cough that produces mucus or phlegm
  • Thick mucus that changes color
  • Chest pain or tightness that is not coming from a heart condition

Visiting an emergency trained physician at clear choice er is recommended if you experience the following:

  • Symptoms lasting more than a couple of weeks
  • Symptoms are severe and worsening
  • There is difficulty breathing
  • Swallowing is impaired
  • Upper respiratory infection is recurring


At Clear Choice Emergency Room, your condition will be assessed immediately without the long wait times typical of most hospital emergency rooms. We’re open seven days a week, 365 days a year, and at any given time, you will be seen by a board-certified, highly experienced emergency care physician.