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Alison Beaver

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ask: Over the Counter Medicine to Shorten Cold Symptoms?

I heard that Flu Mist can help shorten the length of time a person has flu symptoms, or lessens the severity of symptoms (does not cure/prevent flu). Is this true?

Is there something similar to help with cold symptoms, right when you start to feel like you may be getting sick? I know there are tons of cold remedy medicines at the pharmacy, and most of the ingredients make me feel worse than the cold itself, and they do nothing to help the cold go away quicker.

I heard about taking echinecea or zinc or something, but do you have to take a lot? I agree with one of your experts who said, "if it's strong enough to help, it's also strong enough to cause harm", so i don't want to take something if it will have bad side effects or drug interactions.

thanks!

Add a Comment6 Comments

Tampa Dad

Zicam and Cold-Eaze are effective cold treatments, typically shortening the length of the common cold by a day or two. However, they have also been known to cause users to lose (some permanently) their senses of taste and smell.

August 10, 2008 - 11:35am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

I remember this product (and it's creator) being a big Oprah feature!

I think it is still flying off drug store shelves during the winter months, though - I guess the original marketing ploys are still working!

August 2, 2008 - 11:29am
alysiak

I'm sure the teacher who "created" Airborne had every good intention at heart. Some people I knew who had tried it seemed to think it worked.

This reminds me of the case brought against Listerine for its claims that it kills the germs that cause the common cold. Well, the stuff kills something, if not those cold germs, lol!

August 1, 2008 - 4:39pm
Tina Tran

This is excellent info and will pass this along to my friends as well. The placebo effect is apparently a powerful one. Wonder if I can get my $7 back?:)

August 1, 2008 - 8:35am
alysiak

Just last March, Airborne, as part of a class-action suit, agreed to a $23.3Mil settlement to be paid to consumers who bought the product for having fraudulently marketed it as a cold preventive supplement.

Maker of Airborne Will Pay Refunds for Product That Was Marketed as a Cold Preventive, By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News, Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 31, 2008 - 4:29pm
Tina Tran

Not sure if it was psychological, but I've used something called Airborne a few times when I feel a cold coming on and it SEEMS to have worked. This product was reportedly 'invented' by a teacher who was constantly at the mercy of her students and their illnesses. I know other people who say it's worked for them as well. The key though, is that you have to take this stuff right when you feel something coming on. I would say in the first day. Has anyone else used this product? Did it work or bomb? Or something else?

July 31, 2008 - 2:48pm
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