I had a lot of colds when I was a kid, then I went most of my adult life without getting colds, and now I seem to get colds (or as we say in the hypochondriac biz, “rhinoviruses”) again. Because I’m just getting over one and it seems like it was only a couple of months ago that I had the last one.
Anyhoo, last time I went to the doc thinking I had my annual tenacious sinus infection, but the doctor was like, no, dude, you have a rhinovirus cold-like thing. (I may be paraphrasing a bit here.)
Since we all know modern pharmacology is useless versus colds, he handed me a photocopied cheat sheet of over-the-counter stuff I could try. I don’t remember a whole lot of what was on the list, but many of the items had qualifications like, “has been reported by new agey types to offer modest relief to a small subset of humans, one of whom is probably not you.”
But one item on the list stood out for indicating that there was some scientific evidence that it actually worked: zinc.
My doctor’s cheat sheet said zinc has been shown to lessen the severity and shorten the duration of a cold or rhinovirus. The meta-analysis mentioned in the Reuter’s study above, however, only showed a modestly shorter duration, not a lessening of symptoms.
But who you gonna believe, science, or me and some photocopied cheat sheet? Some hotshots with a bunch of data crunching supercomputers, or your pal, Richie Anecdotal Evidence?
Because I’m telling you that I think taking zinc lozengers (I know, I just like saying it that way) both made my colds shorter and less sucky.
You’re supposed to jump on the zinc at the first sign of a cold. Also, be advised that it will probably leave a metallic taste in your mouth like you fellated a robot and make everything taste like galvanized nails.
I used the red flavor the first time. This time I tried yellow flavor, and the metallic unpleasantness wasn’t quite as bad.