Understanding LRTI: Lower Respiratory Tract Infections

Upper Respiratory Tract Infections


Understanding LRTI: Lower Respiratory Tract Infections


“LRTI” is a medical abbreviation for “Lower Respiratory Tract Infection.” It refers to infections affecting the airways and structures below the voice box, including the lungs and bronchial tubes.

Let us first understand what a respiratory tract infection is.

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are a range of infections that impact different systems of the respiratory tract, including the sinuses, throat, airway, and lungs.

RTIs are classified into two main categories based on the specific region of the system they target:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections target the sinuses and throat.
  • Lower respiratory tract infections target the airways and lungs.

Lower RTIs endure for a longer duration and tend to be more severe.

What is Lower Respiratory Tract Infection (LRTI)?

LRTIs encompass a range of diseases, including:

  • Pneumonia: An infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs, often caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
  • Bronchitis: Inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the lungs. It can be acute or chronic.
  • Bronchiolitis: Commonly seen in infants and young children, it’s an inflammation of the small airways (bronchioles) in the lungs, usually caused by a viral infection.
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection: This viral infection is prevalent in young children and can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

These are just a few examples of diseases that fall under the category of lower resp infection, all of which can vary in severity from mild to severe or even life-threatening.

What are the Symptoms of LRTI?

Coughing, which may be mild or severe, is the primary indication of a lower respiratory tract infection (RTI). 

Your child might experience either a dry or productive cough, with the possibility of being unable to expel phlegm or mucus, even in the case of a productive cough.

Additional symptoms of a lower RTI encompass:

  • Fever
  • A sensation of tightness or pain in the chest
  • Rapid or irregular breathing
  • Struggles to catch breath
  • Wheezing
  • Decline in health (reduced energy, appetite, and fluid intake)

What are the Causes of LRTI?

Lower respiratory tract diseases primarily stem from viral invasions, with viruses being the leading cause. Following viruses, bacteria are the next most prevalent culprits.

In cases of bronchitis, influenza (commonly known as “the flu”) and the rhinovirus (responsible for the common cold) top the list of common viral offenders. 

The predominant cause of pneumonia varies with age but often involves viral or bacterial agents. Rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and human metapneumovirus frequently trigger bronchiolitis. 

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, has also been associated with lower respiratory tract infections and occasionally progresses to pneumonia.

Things to remember about LRTI infection. 

  • It is an infection that takes place in the lower airways
  • Common lower respiratory tract illnesses in children include flu, viral bronchiolitis, and pneumonia.
  • The primary symptoms of infection lower respiratory tract are consistent coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing.
  • Treatment can include drinking fluids and getting rest. If bacteria cause it, antibiotics may be prescribed.

Suffering from a respiratory tract infection? You can get a URTI medical certificate online by completing a detailed questionnaire.


Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTIs) or lower airway infections are a variety of illnesses that affect the airways and structures beneath the voice box.

Characterized by symptoms like coughing, fever, and breathing difficulties, recognizing and promptly addressing LRTIs is crucial for effective management and treatment.

You can also learn how to manage any condition if you are suffering from it by scheduling a telehealth appointment or getting an online prescription from an Australian doctor online.


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