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Respiratory tract

The word ‘cold’ is used in everyday speech to cover a variety of respiratory infections. These are usually transmitted by direct contact or by airborne spread, e.g.when an infected person sneezes.The warning signs of an impending upper respiratory tract infection include feeling feverish, tired, and generally unwell. There may be aches and pains in the muscles, similar to the stiffness felt after training; headache, runny nose, sore throat, coughs and sneezes are often present. When these symptoms last for 3–4 days and are accompanied by a temperature of 38–39 °C (100.5–102 °F), the cause is likely to be a virus. Resting quietly at home for the duration of the illness is recommended. Fever can be controlled with the help of an aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or paracetamol (acetaminophen) preparation and plenty of fluids. Sporting activities should not be resumed until the temperature has been normal for a week.
A doctor should be consulted if:

– symptoms and fever persist for more than about 4 days;
– the temperature rises again after it had settled;
– the patient has chest pain or difficulty in breathing;
– a productive cough develops;
– pain is felt in the sinuses, ears, etc.

Any of these symptoms suggests that a bacterial infection may have occurred and that antibiotics may be necessary. A doctor’s advice and antibiotic prescription may similarly be needed if tonsillitis occurs. This is likely to be indicated by red, swollen tonsils (sometimes covered or spotted with white exudate) and tender, enlarged glands in the neck.
Some upper respiratory infections are so mild that they pass almost unnoticed and neither athlete nor coach feels the need to discontinue training. It should never be forgotten, however, that any feverish illness can be complicated by the development of myocarditis (inflammation of cardiac muscle) which may have serious consequences, including sudden death. It may, however, pass with insignificant symptoms which are the same as those of a general infection—fatigue, a feeling of discomfort, and so on. Chest pains and palpitations may also occur.

Urinary tract 

Urinary tract infections include infections of the urethra, bladder, ureter, renal pelvis, and kidneys. The symptoms include pain on urination, frequent urgent urination, and sometimes fever (fever occurs particularly when the renal pelvis is inflamed, in which case it is also likely to be accompanied by pain in the lower back). Anyone who suspects a urinary tract infection should consult a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.In men, the prostate gland may become inflamed, causing vague discomfort over the bladder, an urge to pass water frequently, pain on urination, and sometimes a fever. Again, a doctor should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.The same rules apply to urinary tract infections as to other feverish illnesses.

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