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Respiratory tract infection
Respiratory tract infections are infectious diseases involving the respiratory tract including the sinuses, throat, airways and lungs. Respiratory tract infections are usually classified as upper respiratory tract infection or lower respiratory tract infection. Upper respiratory tract infections affect the parts of the respiratory tract including the nose, sinuses, and throat, while lower respiratory tract infections affect the airways and lungs.
Common types of upper respiratory tract infection include common cold, sinusitis, tonsillitis, and laryngitis. Common types of lower respiratory tract infection include bronchitis, bronchiolitis, chest infection, and pneumonia. Lower respiratory tract infections are generally more serious than upper respiratory tract infections.
Respiratory tract infections are caused by microorganisms, known as bacteria or viruses. Antibiotics are only used to treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics are not effective in treating infections caused by viruses.
Respiratory tract infections, Health A to Z, The NHS website.
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