Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are any infection of the sinuses, throat, airways orlungs.

They're usually caused by viruses, but can be caused by bacteria.

RTIsare thought to be one of the main reasons why people visit their GP or pharmacist. The Cold is the most widespread RTI.

Healthcare professionals generally make a distinction between:

  • upper respiratory tractinfections which affectthe nose, sinuses andthroat
  • lower respiratory tract infections which affect the airways and lungs

Children tend to get more upperRTIsthan adults because they haven't built up immunity (resistance) to the many viruses that can cause these infections.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Nov 2016