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Nov 8, 2010

Common Cold Remedies

The common cold is an infection of your nose and throat caused by viruses. We typically catch between two and four colds a year.
Symptoms of the common cold, which usually appear one to three days after being exposed to a cold virus, include:
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore or itchy throat
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild headache
  • Mild fatigue or body aches
  • Fever less than 102 degrees

Cold Remedies

Here's a look at some of the more popular natural remedies for the prevention and treatment of the common cold.
  • Zinc Lozenges
    Zinc is an essential mineral that's required by more than 300 enzymes in our bodies. It’s found naturally in foods such as meat, liver, seafood and eggs. The full recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 12 mg for women and 15 mg for men, an amount found in a typical multivitamin.
    Zinc lozenges are often found in health stores, online and in some drug stores marketed as cold remedies. A number of studies have found that zinc helped to reduce the duration of cold symptoms, especially if people started taking it within 24 hours after the appearance of cold symptoms. Zinc also reduced the severity of symptoms and decreased the duration of symptoms by three to four days. The problem is that many of these zinc studies have had flaws, so better-quality studies are needed.
    Zinc lozenges may work by blocking the replication of the cold virus (preventing it from spreading) or by impairing the ability of the cold virus to enter cells in nose and throat.
    The zinc lozenges used in the studies contained a minimum of 13.3 mg of elemental zinc. The lozenges were taken every two hours during the day, starting immediately after the onset of cold symptoms. The studies that found zinc to be ineffective may have used a dose of zinc that was too low or have had taste-enhancing compounds known to decrease the effectiveness of zinc, such as citric acid (found in citrus fruit), tartaric acid, sorbitol or mannitol.
    Zinc lozenges usually contain either zinc gluconate or zinc acetate, providing 3.3 mg of elemental zinc in each lozenge. It's typically recommended that people take one lozenge every two to four hours during the day for a maximum of six to 12 lozenges a day.
    Side effects of zinc may include nausea and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Zinc lozenges are not recommended for the prevention of colds or for long-term use, because zinc supplements in excess of 15 mg per day may interfere with the absorption of the mineral copper and result in a copper deficiency

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