Random Thoughts – Randocity!

Getting a virus: Clearing it up faster

Posted in Health, health and beauty by commorancy on October 25, 2009

I’ve recently discussed what I do to help prevent the cold and flu virus, that one is the longer of these two articles.  So, this one will be much shorter.  If you do get a cold, the flu or even a throat infection, you can help reduce the symptoms by using a simple remedy: Zinc.  But, not just any zinc.  I personally use Zicam.  The reason I use Zicam is the formulations available.  While the zinc tablets work, they taste nasty and only coat your throat.  This can work, but I find that the other Zicam formulations work much better.

Gel Swabs

The Zicam gel swabs are my favorite to use.  The way this works is to swab the inside if your nostrils and then close the nostrils just briefly after swabbing.   Apparently, as I understand how this works, the zinc in Zicam kills viruses on contact and, at the same time, prevents new viruses from taking hold.  Since the viruses apparently start and multiply in the nasal cavity, the application of zinc coats your nasal passages and prevents the virus from taking hold and building full colonies.  So, the theory goes, the symptoms are reduced and the length of infection shortened.  For me, this works.

Reduction in symptoms

Whenever I get sick with a virus, I find that using zinc (Zicam variety) reduces sore throats from 5-7 days to about 2-3 days.  So, without zinc, the cold may last 2 weeks.  With Zicam, I find that my colds are over in about 7-9 days.  For me, the symptoms of the cold are greatly reduced as well.

Other zinc formulations

You may get similar results with the lozenges, but I prefer the Zicam formulations.  If another company begins making a similar formulation to the gel swabs, I may try those out. Right now it appears that Zicam is the only brand with this formulation.  I will say that I have also tried Zicam’s nasal spray and throat spray.  For the same reason that I don’t like the lozenges, I don’t like the throat spray (it tastes nasty).  As far as the nasal spray formulation, I don’t like spraying this up inside my nose due to irritation.  So, I stick with the swabs which simply coats the opening to your nose and doesn’t have taste or irritation problems.  Apparently, though, the gel does move up into the nose through breathing, but I don’t seem to feel it like I do with the spray.

So, for prevention, follow my previous article.  But, once you get sick, try using the Zicam gel swabs (or a knock off if you can find one) and see how well they work for you.  If they do nothing, don’t buy them again. But, if they reduce the severity of the symptoms, as I expect they will, then I find that it’s well worth the $12 for a box.

2 Responses

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  1. Joshua Sophy said, on October 30, 2009 at 6:11 am

    The FDA hasn’t changed its stance on the recalled Zicam products and says Matrixx could have come forward during numerous instances with its adverse reaction reports: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/13620#more-13620


    • commorancy said, on November 1, 2009 at 6:26 am

      Actually, the FDA hasn’t issued a ‘recall’ exactly. They have requested that Matrixx stop selling the product pending proper clinical review. 130 people have alleged loss of sense of smell due to the use of Zicam. The trouble is, there is nothing that links their use of Zicam to their loss of smell conclusively. The theory is that the zinc targets and potentially damages the olfactory nerves preventing them from working in certain individuals. The trouble with this allegation is that it appears to only affect a few people and not others. As with any drug, there are always potential side effects. I agree with the FDA that Zicam needs more clinical study… meaning, they need to use clinical trials to determine if it does, in fact, cause loss of smell as a potential side effect. Knowing this information will help consumers make an informed choice on whether or not to use this product. Matrixx can’t hide their head in the sand and pretend this issue doesn’t exist. So, the FDA is ensuring that that doesn’t happen.

      The fact is, though, regardless of the loss of smell issue (which I was well aware of at least 1-2 years ago), I have personally found zinc effective at reducing cold symptoms and preventing viruses from taking hold. I have used the nasal swabs with each of the last 4-5 colds I have had without any incident or loss of smell. I am personally willing to take the risk for two reasons. I have used the product in the past without issues. I know that it reduces my cold symptoms and severity by at least 3-5 days. I also have to assume that well more than 130 people have tried Zicam as well without incident. So, are the 130 people an anomaly? Would they have lost their sense of smell even without using Zicam? These questions are not easily answered without clinical trials. If Zicam goes through the proper clinical study and not one loss of smell case results, then these 130 people had to have been an anomaly and may have lost their sense of smell due to other causes. So, we’ll have to wait until Matrixx submits their reports to the FDA for review.

      Thank you for bringing up this point as I should have mentioned this as part of this article.


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