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Viral Infections

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Nasal Septal

These medicines seem able to reduce the duration of a common cold. They have been studied in well controlled scientific studies. There are two forms of zinc gluconate preparation that are of interest. The zinc gluconate lozenges, (Cold-Eeze) and zinc gluconate nasal spray (Zicam Cold Remedy).

The lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of the common cold by about 40%. They have almost no side effects and should be used as directed at the very beginning of a cold. These studies are available for examination.

Zicam "cold remedy" spray is a real medicine. It is incorrectly sold as a homeopathic remedy in pharmacies every where. Two well designed studies show it to be dramatically effective in reducing the duration of the common cold. My family and I use it, and have mostly had just 1 or 2 day thanks to zinc gluconate. It lacks some credibility because it is not known with certainty how it works, and because it wasn't introduced using the proper modern medicine approval process.

If willing to "risk it" (Zicam "Cold Remedy" spray) can really help shorten the duration of a common cold.

It is perhaps a risk because there are reports of people having reduction or loss of smell after using the product. Do be aware, it is not rare to suddenly lose your smell, sometimes permanently, during a viral upper respiratory infections even if you are taking no medicine at all.

Also, the product now comes on swabs, the premise being that you can't inadvertently get the medicine high enough in your nose to come in contact with the smell nerves if you apply it with a swab.

I often will use both preparations at once. I cross my fingers and hope that the reports of smell loss are just "flukes" and I try not to spray it high up in my nose where the smell nerves reside. It is irritating and will give you some irritation at first and may make you sneeze. If you use them, it is important to start them as soon as you first notice the signs that suggest you have a cold.

OTC Meds

Treating a Cold
  With OTC Meds

Treating Allergies
  With OTC Meds

Treating Chronic
  Problems with OTC

Specific OTC Meds



Decongestant Sprays

Pain Relievers

Cough Suppressants

Mucous Thinners

Saline Rinses

Zinc Gluconate

Cromolyn Spray

Steroid Sprays

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