Acute Respiratory Infection: What is it and How To Tell If You Have an Acute URI?


An acute respiratory infection or acute URI is an infection that develops suddenly and easily spreads from person to person. Proper hand hygiene, in form of soap and water, helps prevent the spread of these pathogens. It’s important to have a look at your symptoms.

What is an Acute Respiratory Infection?

An acute respiratory infection (ARI) is an infection of the airways that can cause severe respiratory symptoms. ARI symptoms range from a mild cold or the flu to a more serious infection, such as pneumonia. ARIs are most common in the winter and spring, but they can occur at any time of year. The most common ARIs are the cold and flu viruses, bronchitis, RSV, and laryngitis.

To tell if you have an ARI, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have an ARI: chest pain, fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing. If you have any of these symptoms plus a rapid heart rate or confusion, you may have pneumonia and should go to the hospital immediately.

If you think you might have an ARI, your best bet is to see your doctor. However, there are some things you can do to help reduce your chances of getting sick with an ARI: stay warm and dry, avoid smoke and tobacco, drink plenty of fluids (including water), get vaccinated against the cold and flu

What are the symptoms of an acute respiratory infection?

The signs and symptoms of an acute respiratory infection can vary depending on the type of infection. Typical symptoms of a common cold include: a sore throat, high fever, congestion, body aches, and headache. If you have an acute respiratory infection (ARI), you may also experience: shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, rapid heart rate, and trouble breathing. You may also experience less common symptoms such as: fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, or running a fever. If you are concerned that you might have an ARI, always consult your doctor.

How do you know if you have a bacterial URI versus viral URI?

Bacterial URI stands for an acute respiratory infection caused by bacteria. Viral URI stands for an acute respiratory infection caused by a virus. The most common bacterial URI is the common cold, but other bacterial URI include pneumonitis, meningitis, and laryngospasm. Most viral URI are the result of a cold, upper respiratory infection (URI), or flu.

A person with a bacterial URI will have fever, cough, and shortness of breath. A person with a viral URI may have fever, fatigue, headache, and body aches. It is important to get medical help if you have symptoms of either type of URI. If you think you may have a URI, ask your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Supplements for an acute respiratory infection

If you are feeling sick, there are a few things you can do to help your body fight the infection. First, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Second, take ibuprofen (3-6 tablets) if you are experiencing pain or inflammation. Finally, take supplements such as vitamin B12 and multivitamins to help boost your immune system.


If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have been exposed to an infection and are feeling a little off. Acute respiratory infections (ARI) can be debilitating, so if you suspect that you may have one, it is important to get tested as soon as possible. 


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