How can I treat my cold and prevent spreading it? Do zinc lozenges really work?

December 29, 2016

Does zinc really shorten the duration and severity of the common cold?

In Part One I recommended 3 strategies for fighting the common cold and discussed the first strategy – protecting yourself and avoiding the viruses that spread it. In this segment, I’ll discuss ways to prevent its spread and how to treat it.

First, how you can prevent spreading the virus: remember what goes around, comes around. So for preventing the spread of your cold: stay-at-home, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and for the time being, avoid hugging, kissing, lovey-dovey and shaking hands.

If you feel a sneeze or a cough coming on, move away from people, cover your mouth with a tissue or alternately cough or sneeze into your upper shirtsleeve to avoid making an aerosol of your infectious virus.

Finally, disinfect frequently touched surfaces about the home when you or some other family member is fighting the common cold.

Patients often ask me, “Does zinc really make my cold go away?” The answer is, “Yes!” but what you take and how you take it makes a significant difference. In the studies that showed a reduction in the duration and severity of the common cold using zinc lozenges, the effective dose was 12.5 to 15mg per lozenge taken every two hours for 5 to 6 doses per day for 3 days. Compared to zinc gluconate, zinc acetate seemed to be a little more effective, but zinc acetate is very bitter so available formulations are made with a combination of the two salts.

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Reference: Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others. Available at: [accessed November 14, 2016].