Date of this Version

January 2004

Document Type


Publication Details

Doust J, Del Mar C. Diagnosing coughs and colds. Br J Gen Pract 2004, 54 (498) 5-6
Access BJGP online via Royal College of General Practitioners


It is easy to dismiss coughs and colds as 'trivial' however they cause a significant burden of illness. Although clinical research is elucidating the natural history of respiratory tract infections and overturning some of our previously held beliefs and heuristics there is much we still do not know about respiratory tract infections. It is difficult to synthesise and compare information across studies because of a lack of standard definitions for conditions such as upper and lower respiratory tract infections. There are also some concerns with methodology and limited size of studies. Considering how often we see patients with respiratory tract infections there are many questions with too few answers.



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