Riverside Surgery

Dr Swindlehurst & Partners - Seduli ad Curandum - Committed to Care
Tel: (01386) 444400

Respiratory Tract Infections

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) can affect the sinuses, throat, airways or lungs. Most RTIs get better without treatment, but sometimes you may need to see your GP.

Symptoms of an RTI include:

  • a cough – you may bring up mucus (phlegm)
  • sneezing
  • a stuffy or runny nose
  • sore throat
  • headaches
  • muscle aches
  • breathlessness, tight chest or wheezing
  • a high temperature (fever)
  • feeling generally unwell

Things you can do yourself

Most RTIs pass within 1 to 2 weeks. You can usually treat your symptoms at home.


  • get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of water to loosen any mucus and make it easier to cough up
  • drink a hot lemon and honey drink to help soothe a cough (not suitable for babies)
  • gargle with warm salty water if you have a sore throat (children should not try this)
  • raise your head up while sleeping using extra pillows to make breathing easier and clear your chest of mucus
  • use painkillers to bring down a fever and help ease a sore throat, headaches and muscle pain


  • do not let children breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water as there’s a risk of scalding
  • do not give aspirin to children under 16
  • do not smoke – it can make your symptoms worse

Click here for further information

Treating your Respiratory Tract Infection Leaflet