Treatments for Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza)
The treatment and management of colds and influenza mainly involves relieving your symptoms, though they ordinarily resolve on their own. If you have a chronic health condition, a cold or influenza can worsen whatever condition you have, particularly diabetes or chronic heart and lung diseases. Occasionally viral upper respiratory infections develop into complications like ear or sinus infections or pneumonia.
The goals of treatment are threefold:
- Make yourself comfortable while the illness runs its course.
- Manage other conditions so they do not worsen during upper respiratory infection.
- Prevent complications from developing.
Treatment involves the following:
There are no surgical procedures for the treatment of colds and influenza.
Common cold. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/respiratory-viruses/common-cold. Updated April 2014. Accessed August 15, 2017.
Influenza in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T435301/Influenza-in-adults. Updated September 27, 2016. Accessed August 15, 2017.
Influenza. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/respiratory-viruses/influenza. Updated April 2014. Accessed August 15, 2017.
Upper respiratory infection (URI) in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114537/Upper-respiratory-infection-URI-in-adults-and-adolescents. Updated April 10, 2017. Accessed August 15, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 11/13/2020