Problems of the upper respiratory tract include disorders of the nose, pharynx, adenoids,
tonsils, epiglottis, larynx, and trachea.
A deviated septum is a deflection of the normally straight nasal septum that is most
commonly caused by trauma to the nose or congenital disproportion.
Rhinoplasty, the surgical reconstruction of the nose, is performed for cosmetic reasons or
to improve airway function when trauma or developmental deformities result in nasal
Allergic rhinitis is the reaction of the nasal mucosa to a specific allergen and is classified
as either intermittent or persistent.
o Intermittent means that the symptoms are present less than 4 days a week or less
than 4 weeks per year.
o Persistent means that the symptoms are present more than 4 days a week and for
more than 4 weeks per year.
o The most important step in managing allergic rhinitis involves identifying and
avoiding triggers of allergic reactions.
Acute viral rhinitis (also known as the common cold or acute coryza):
o Is caused by an adenovirus that invades the upper respiratory tract and often
accompanies an acute upper respiratory infection.
o Rest, fluids, proper diet, antipyretics, and analgesics are the recommended
management of acute viral rhinitis.
In contrast to acute viral rhinitis, the onset of influenza is typically abrupt with systemic
symptoms of cough, fever, and myalgia often accompanied by a headache and sore throat.
o To combat the likelihood of developing influenza, there are two types of flu
vaccines available: inactivated and live, attenuated.
o The nurse should advocate the use of inactivated influenza vaccination in all
patients greater than 50 years of age or who are at high risk during routine office
visits or, if hospitalized, at the time of discharge.
Chronic and acute sinusitis develop when the ostia (exit) from the sinuses is narrowed or
blocked by inflammation or hypertrophy (swelling) of the mucosa. Chronic sinusitis lasts