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A 21-year-old member asked:

What is more serious of a disease, lower respiratory tract infections or upper respiratory tract infections?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michio Abe
Internal Medicine 27 years experience
Lower respiratory: Upper respiratory infections involve upper airways such as throat, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, eustachian tubes, trachea as, nd bronchi. When the disease process in the bronchi, or bronchitis, continues, it could begin to involve lower airways in the lung tissues, which is then more advanced lower respiratory infections or pneumonia.
Dr. Michael Ein
Infectious Disease 49 years experience
Lower: Upper respiratory tract infections are colds, rhinitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis and are usually caused by viruses although can also be caused by various bacteria. Lower respiratory infections are bronchitis and pneumonia also caused by viruses but more than uri's are caused by bacteria and can be more severe and even life threatening.

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A 39-year-old member asked:

What's the difference between upper and lower respiratory tract infection ?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Bryan Levey
Pediatrics 28 years experience
The term....: "upper respiratory infection" usually refers to the common cold, but generally means any infection that effects the upper part of the respiratory (breathing) system, namely the nose and throat. The lower respiratory tract is made up of the large airways and the lungs. A lower respiratory infection usually means bronchitis or pneumonia, tends to be more severe and to affect breathing much more.

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Last updated May 21, 2019
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