Children with upper respiratory tract infections are commonly encountered in general practice. Most respiratory infections, including acute otitis media, a sore throat and sinusitis, are self-limiting, and symptomatic treatment is usually adequate. Despite this, upper respiratory tract infection may still be problematic owing to inappropriate use of corticosteroids, over-the-counter medicines and antibiotics in an attempt to prevent secondary bacterial infection. This increases the burden of antibiotic resistance and causes unnecessary side-effects for the patient. Usually, little benefit is obtained as the course of the disease is not altered. The South African guideline for the management of upper respiratory tract infections has made recommendations based on appropriate pathogens and relevant publications.