Worrall does not waste any time on trying to distinguish between upper and lower respiratory tract infections but discusses each condition in a separate chapter, starting with “The common cold” and ending with “Bronchiolitis”. Each chapter is a concise summary of the available literature and, despite now being an academic in Canada after many years as a GP in the United Kingdom, he limits the number of references he uses. However, as succinct as he may be in conveying the evidence in the text, it will be the summary boxes “Epidemiology and aetiology”, “Clinical course and diagnosis” and “Treatment” that many readers will be drawn to. This is a pity because a real understanding of the topic can only be drawn from the studies themselves and a discussion of their strengths and weaknesses; something the author does very well. The chapter on croup demonstrates this; summary boxes provide simple treatment details, but the text highlights the need for primary care-based randomised controlled trials to determine the best form of management for mild and moderate croup in the community.
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