Explainer: What is an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, or URTI?

  • Hong Kong junior Primary schools will close for two weeks due to a common cold outbreak
  • The sickness is spread just like Covid-19, through close contact or not washing your hands
Susan Ramsay |

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A URTI is an infection of the upper respiratory tract, consisting of your nose, throat and sinuses.

Hong Kong junior Primary schools will close for two weeks because of a URTI outbreak. What is a URTI?

Literally, it’s an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, i.e. a common cold

Your upper respiratory tract is your nose, throat, and sinuses.

URTI is a catchall term used by doctors to describe infections caused by a group of viruses, most often the rhinovirus. Sometimes they can be caused by a coronavirus, the same family as Covid-19.

How to avoid catching a cold during Covid-19

You could have URTI if your nose is blocked, you sneeze a lot, your throat hurts, your nose has drippy, runny goo coming out of it, you feel tired or your head hurts.

This sickness is spread just like Covid-19 is, by close contact with someone who is infected, or by not washing your hands.

Younger children are more likely to get a URTI because their immune systems are not strong.