Zinc lozenges appear to slightly reduce the duration of the common cold (by about one day) provided you begin taking them as soon as the first symptoms appear. However, they can sometimes cause sore throat, nausea, and intestinal problems, especially in children.
Zinc lozenges shouldn’t be taken for more than two weeks, as they can cause a deficiency of copper, an element that is essential to good health. Zinc can also interact with certain medicines.
Most experts do not recommend echinacea, as the risk of adverse side effects (allergies, rash) generally outweighs the very modest improvement of symptoms, especially among children and people with compromised immune systems (due to an illness or medical treatment).
Homeopathic remedies are often popular among parents because there is generally no risk associated to them, but they are not effective for preventing or treating cold symptoms in children.
A healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce the risk of catching a cold:
Before using a natural health product, consult your pharmacist, especially if it is for a child, someone who is ill or in frail health, or an individual who is taking medication.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.