Chapter

Upper respiratory tract infections

P. Little

in Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199204854
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199570973 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199204854.003.180401

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Upper respiratory tract infections

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Acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are the commonest reason for patients to seek medical advice in the United Kingdom.

Pharyngitis/tonsillitis—this is caused by both bacterial and viral organisms, with sore throat often accompanied by fever, headache, and other symptoms, with or without enlarged and tender cervical lymph nodes, tonsillar erythema, and exudate. Investigations are not generally performed or required. Antibiotics have modest benefit, so for patients who are not unwell systemically the physician should either not prescribe, or use a delayed prescribing approach, advising the patient to wait for several days before collecting or using their prescription. The antibiotic of choice is probably penicillin V, with a short acting macrolide the second-line agent. The benefits of tonsillectomy in preventing recurrent sore throat are modest....

Chapter.  3404 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Respiratory Medicine and Pulmonology

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