Common Cold Cure?

Are you one of the masses of people popping zinc lozenges or drinking orange juice when you feel a cold coming on?

So what works and what's a waste of money?

NBC 15's Sarah Carlson gets to the bottom of the cure for the common cold.

We spend millions on our desperate search for a cure, not to mention the time and money spent on advertising those products as legitimate ways to prevent a cold or cut it short.

So what works? We took an arm-load of products to a local doctor to find out.

Your medicine cabinet and pantry are full of lots of remedies, so which should you stock up on this winter?

First - nasal spray. We heard some use it to prevent catching a bug on a plane ...

"It doesn't do anything to kill the virus at all, it actually won't work as a preventative."

But Doctor Greg Demuri, a pediatrician with UW, says it IS a great way to make young kids feel better who can't take cough and cold medication.

Now, to echinacea. We've benefited big time from the boost to our immune systems in the winter, right?

"It sure is a bit of a waste of money, yeah," says Dr. Demuri.

One extensive study to prove this was done right here at UW Madison.

Dr. Demuri says, "We're injecting the virus in the patients' noses, they take echinacea before and unfortunately it did not protect them."

The popular product Cold-Eez has made zinc a favorite for people who feel a cold coming on.

You're probably getting sick of this answer.

"Zinc has been studied to death now in the common cold and it really has not shown efficacy in preventing or shortening the duration of it," says Dr. Demuri.

So what about vitamin C? We all know more vitamin C can keep you away from the doctor's office.

"It certainly can't hurt. It might make you feel like you're doing something for yourself to keep yourself healthy."

In short, it's good for you, but prevents nothing.

Our final look is at a product heavily advertised these days - yogurt drinks with probiotics, touted as "immune system boosters."

Once again, there's no proof this prevents a cold - but it might be worth a couple extra bucks at the grocery store.

"The ones we do know they protect against pretty well are the GI illnesses like stomach flu's basically, diarrheas," says Dr. Demuri.

And to prevent those icky viruses, along with the multitude of colds that make their way through your office or school every year, wash your hands, get some sleep, get a flu shot and prepare to spend a few weeks getting over it.

"There's nothing that will shorten the duration of the common cold."

And now for perhaps the most disappointing news ... there was a drug developed to treat the common cold.

But because the illness is so harmless, the standards for FDA approval are very high - too high for that drug to pass the test.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
NBC15 615 Forward Drive Madison, Wisconsin 53711 Business: 608-274-1515 Newsroom: 608-274-1500
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 10983131 -
Gray Television, Inc.