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Do you know what is causing you respiratory infections during summer?

Jun 14, 2018

In the summer, we are still exposed to respiratory infections especially in the upper tract. During this time, we tend to go outside more often for fresh air; we change our place of residence for holidays. Furthermore, there is an overuse of air conditioning, and also we enjoy swimming in pools, lakes or the ocean. All these activities favor the presence of microbes responsible for rhinosinusitis, pharyngitis, otitis and common cold.

According to a study conducted by Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) in 2015, 17.230.000 cases of URTI happened worldwide and are causing around 375.000 deaths annually. Although 90% of respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses, bacteria can interact with each other and worsen the disease(1,2,3).

Some URTI are characterized by the presence of specific pathogens that are favored by climatic conditions. This is the case of acute otitis externa, where humidity and heat increase the population of gram negative bacteria in the ear, which in its vast majority corresponds to Pseudomonas aeruginosa (4).

The most common viruses and bacteria responsible for respiratory tract infections are listed in the table below (1,5,6).


  1. Vos, Theo et al. Disease and Injury Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The Lancet; 388: 1545-602.
  2. World Health Organization, WHO (Preventing disease through healthy environments) Retrieved from
  3. Korsman Stephen N.J., van Zyl GU.  Respiratory viruses .  Virology. pp. 108-109. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2012.
  4. Boyce TG, Balakrishnan K. Otitis Externa and Necrotizing Otitis Externa. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (Fifth Edition). 2018, Pages 223–225.e1
  5. Dasaraju PV, Liu C. Infections of the Respiratory System. In: Baron S, editor. Medical Microbiology. 4th edition. Galveston (TX): University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; 1996. Chapter 93.
  6. Paul SP, Wilkinson R, Routley C. Management of respiratory tract infections in children. Nursing: research and reviews. December 2014. Volume 2014:4 Pages 135—148