Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Sport and the Immune System Response. A Review
Department for Quality of Life Studies, University of Bologna, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council (CNR), 73047 Lecce, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Qinxue Hu
Received: 22 March 2021 / Revised: 12 April 2021 / Accepted: 20 April 2021 / Published: 23 April 2021
This review aims at clarifying the relationships of heavy training with the upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), a topic which has reach the public awareness with the recent outbreaks of Covid 19. The URTIs are quite common in several sport activities among athletes who undergo heavy training. Causes of URTI are still poorly understood, because can be related with innate and genetic susceptibility and with several environmental factors connected with training load and nutrition. The time course of the inflammation process affecting URTI after training, has been also reviewed. After a survey of the possible physiological and psychological causes (stressors), including a survey of the main markers of inflammation currently found in scientific literature (mainly catecholamines), we provided evidence of the ingestion of carbohydrates, C, D, and E vitamins, probiotics and even certain fat, in reducing URTI in athletes. Possible countermeasures to URTI can be a correct nutrition, sleep hygiene, a proper organization of training loads, and the use of technique to reduce stress in professional athletes. There is a lack of studies investigating social factors (isolation) albeit with Covid 19 this gap has been partially fill. The results can be useful also for non-athletes.