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Avoiding and Treating the Common Cold

Americans suffer from over 1 billion colds each year. But how to best prevent or treat the virus?
It's cold season, a time many of us experience the sniffling and sneezing from the common cold.  Americans suffer from over 1 billion colds each year.  But how to best prevent or treat the virus?


We all know the symptoms:  a sore throat, sneezing and a runny nose. Colds are all too common this time of year but a new review from the Canadian medical association contains tips on how we can fight back.

The researchers looked at results from 67 trials and found that good old fashioned hand washing may be the best way to prevent catching a cold.  Studies in children found that those taking zinc had fewer colds than other kids.  The researchers say that adults may benefits well. 

Probiotics may be helpful to ward off colds, but vitamin c, the "gold standard" of cold fighters, did not seem to help the average patient, nor did echinacea.

So what helps if you do get sick? Medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen help relieve the aches and pains but they will not make the cold go away any quicker.

And, almost all colds are caused by viruses so taking antibiotics is not recommended.

Cold symptoms usually go away in about7 to 10 days.  If you aren't getting relief by then, see your doctor, it may be more than a cold. 


(Martha Shade for CNN's Health Minute)


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