Chew on vitamin C. Brew echinacea tea. These actions might seem like natural reactions when you feel a cold coming on. But they may not actually help wipe out your sneezes, sniffles, scratchy throat and cough.
Despite what you read on the Internet, there’s often little science to back up the healing claims of alternative cold treatments. Here’s a quick run-down of what researchers do know.
Never use intranasal zinc. It may cause you to permanently lose your sense of smell.
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Ongoing research into these and other alternative medicines may help clarify their usefulness. In the meantime, it’s best to go with the tried-and-true trio of rest, fluids and over-the-counter medications. Aspirin or acetaminophen may ease symptoms. Decongestants and cough suppressants can also help. But never give aspirin to children. And don’t give nonprescription cold medicines to children under 4 years old.
American Lung Association
National Institutes of Health
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