Upper respiratory tract infections and respiratory virus

The facts of viral infection and the misdiagnosis with antibiotics.

Viral infections of the upper respiratory tract.
Rhinovirusaccounts for 30 to 50% of all upper respiratory tract infections. Influenza accounts for 5 to 15% of upper respiratory tract infections and respiratory syncytial virus for 5 to 10%.1 Other viruses that commonly cause infections of the upper respiratory tract are the coronavirus, adenovirus and enterovirus.

How effectively can antiviral drugs protect from the ‘flu? To be most effective, commonly prescribed anti-influenza drugs need to be taken within 24 hours of initial viral infection. However, the incubation period of influenza occurs over 2 to 4 days, with most patients being asymptomatic in the first few days of infection. This means that these medications are often prescribed too late to be effective.2

If colds and ‘flu are viral, then why are antibiotics commonly prescribed? Since the introduction of antibiotics, life expectancy has dramatically increased across the Western world; yet we are now facing a growing problem of antibiotic resistance, with the unnecessary prescription of anti-bacterial agents for respiratory illness receiving much of the blame.3 Antibiotics are frequently prescribed for secondary respiratory infections where a bacterial infection has complicated an upper respiratory tract infections. However, only around 2% of viral respiratory infections will progress to bacterial infection.4

Yellow/green mucus does not always indicate bacterial infection. Evidence suggests that color changes in respiratory mucus are apparent in viral infection and allergies, not only bacterial infections. Respiratory mucus changes color to yellow/green as white blood cells, such as neutrophils and eosinophils (white blood cells), die off and are carried away in mucus, making this a common aftermath of colds, ‘flu, allergy and asthma, not just bacterial infection.

To learn more about upper respiratory tract infections and respiratory virus and to discover more detailed protocols for the treatment of this condition, please contact our professional Naturopathic Practitioner at:

A Natural Self,
A Naturopathy Clinic
Dana Kington
244 South Tce
South Fremantle, 6162

At this natural clinic, you will find all the latest technology, such as Toxicity and Heavy Metal Testing, Live Blood Analysis (Hemaview), and Iridology. We also treat with all forms of Natural Medicine with the nutritional supplementation of Homeopathy, Western Herbs, Chinese medicine, Vitamins, Minerals, Amino acids and Enzyme Therapy.


See H, Wark P. Innate immune response to viral infection in the lungs. PeadiatrRespir Rev. 2008; 9(4):243-50

Jefferson T et al. Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ.2009 Dec 8;339-b5106

Antibiotic prescribing should be standardised across Europe to help tackle resistance. The Medical News: June 2009 http://www.news-medical.net/news/20090624/Antibiotic-prescribing-should-be-standardized-across-Europe-to-help-tackle-resistance.aspx Sourced: 18 March 2010

Rhinovirus: eMedicine Infectious Diseases:  http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/227820-overview Sourced 18/03/2010