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Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

KOMPAS.com – Acute respiratory infections (ARI) are infections that can interfere with normal breathing.

This disease can affect only the upper respiratory system or only the lower respiratory system.

This infection is especially dangerous for children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems.

Also read: Croup or Respiratory Tract Infections in Children, How to Overcome It?


There are several different causes of acute respiratory infections, depending on which part is infected.

Causes of upper respiratory tract infections include:

  • Acute pharyngitis
  • Acute ear infection
  • The common cold.

Causes of lower respiratory tract infections include:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchiolitis.


The initial symptoms of an acute respiratory infection usually appear in the nose and upper lungs.

Other symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion, either in the nasal sinuses or lungs
  • Have a cold
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • aches
  • Fatigue.

Read also: Croup

As the disease progresses, high fever and chills are likely to occur.

Other serious symptoms are

  • Difficult to breathe
  • Dizzy
  • Low blood oxygen levels
  • Loss of consciousness.


In a breathing exam, the doctor will check for fluid and inflammation in the lungs by listening for abnormal sounds in the lungs when the patient breathes.

The doctor may also examine the ears, nose, and throat.

If the doctor suspects an infection in the lower respiratory tract, an X-ray or CT scan may be needed to check the condition of the lungs.

The doctor may also take a swab sample from the nose or mouth to check for the type of virus or bacteria causing the disease.

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With many viruses, there is no known treatment.

Doctors sometimes prescribe medication to suppress symptoms while monitoring the patient’s condition.

If the doctor suspects a bacterial infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

Call your doctor immediately if you have trouble breathing or have symptoms of ARI.

Also read: Can Take Lives, Recognize Symptoms of Acute Respiratory Syndrome


Complications of acute respiratory infections are very serious and can result in permanent damage and even death.

Complications include:

  • Stopped breathing, which occurs when the lungs stop functioning
  • Respiratory failure
  • Congestive heart failure.


Most causes of acute respiratory infections cannot be treated.

Therefore, prevention is the best way to ward off dangerous respiratory infections. Practice good hygiene by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands often, especially after being in public
  • Always sneeze into your sleeve or tissue
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes and mouth, to prevent germs from entering your system.

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This article is not intended for self-diagnosis. Please always consult a doctor to get the right examination and treatment.

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