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Cure for the Common Cold

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Cure for the Common Cold

I know “cure” is a strong word…but when it comes to the common cold, anything close to helping would be appreciated, thank you very much. So let’s not call it a cure, but a new study has found that zinc supplements reduce the severity and duration of illness caused by the common cold.

According to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library, “zinc syrup, lozenges or tablets taken within a day of the onset of cold symptoms reduce the severity and length of illness. At seven days, more of the patients who took zinc had cleared their symptoms compared to those who took placebos. Children who took zinc syrup or lozenges for five months or longer caught fewer colds and took less time off school.” Zinc also reduced antibiotic use in children, which is so important given the overuse implications for antibiotic resistance.

“This review strengthens the evidence for zinc as a treatment for the common cold,” said lead researcher Meenu Singh of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India. “However, at the moment, it is still difficult to make a general recommendation, because we do not know very much about the optimum dose, formulation or length of treatment.”

I take zinc when I am run down or feel a cold coming on, and ever since I have had very little illness in my life–and that’s with a stream of elementary school germs flooding my home. Do you take zinc, or other supplements, to treat a cold? What have you found to be an effective way of handling illness?

Next: The Single Best Way to Prevent Illness

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Read more: Children, Cold and Flu, Health, Healthy Schools, Natural Remedies, ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

83 comments

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1:41AM PST on Nov 17, 2011

Thank you

7:18PM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

Thanks for posting.

11:44AM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

Frequent washing of hands, taking zinc and vit,C all help.

1:12AM PST on Mar 2, 2011

thank you

3:36AM PST on Feb 27, 2011

If you want to know how long to wash your hands, sing the "happy birthday song" twice. It's so you can be healthy until your next birthday. It's amazing how personal hygiene is key to preventing so many diseases from common cold to so much more.

That and the fact that citrus (vitamin C) can prevent also. I love my oranges!

2:46AM PST on Feb 26, 2011

tk you...a had no such thing as Common Cold this winter,i had terrible colds

10:44PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

Thank you for sharing.

6:02AM PST on Feb 24, 2011

Based on our family's experiences over the past two years, zinc lozenges really do make a difference in the severity of cold symptoms.

5:11PM PST on Feb 23, 2011

Thank you for sharing.

5:47AM PST on Feb 21, 2011

Zinc here I come.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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