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Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Plutonius, Dec 29, 2018.
I've got a few bottles of imported abstinthe if you want something medicinal.
Happy New Year!
One hopes the medicine in question is as efficacious as possible in the circumstances. And, of course, one understands that such consumption is purely for medicinal purposes.
Now that is what I call medicine in this context.
Happy new year!
Does zinc reduce cold symptoms or just shorten the length of the cold?
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This seems to be an informed post, but would you mind summarizing it into a couple of bullet points? What are you purchasing to combat cold symptoms?
Are you saying saline rinses are the way to relieve cold symptoms? Any particular brand or it does not mater? Does a saline rinse just before bed, last through the night?
How do you take zinc, other than orally, nose spray?
After taking Zircam for 5 days, but not as often as every 3 hours as recommended, my nose has been mostly clear, although I picked up an intermittent cough 2 days ago, last night before going to bed, I decided to not take it, because my in the past, with things like sinus spray, I’ve noticed a rebound effect, where the symtoms return for a while even though you are really beyond the cold. I woke up at 3am with almost completely blocked sinuses, so I took a another dose of the Zicam. It took a while, but slowly my sinouses cleared, about half way which is good enough for me, but I do have sinus drainage, and a periodic cough.
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Happy New Years. Hope most of you aren't experiencing hangovers.
Depends what you're dealing with. I rarely get congestion that causes breathing problems. That term congestion usually refers to mucus in the sinuses. While this is true, your nasal cavity is inflamed which causes that "clogged" feeling. Something like Sinex, Afrin, Zicam Severe Congestion reduces that swelling allowing you to breath through your nose. However, those Zicam swabs contain some compounds that do help. I'm not sure about the efficacy in different people, but they usually work to a degree. Not as great as the actual drugs, but good enough. There used to be some very good imported menthol cremes made for sinuses a long time ago but they're not available anymore. I've found using a very small amount of Vick's rub mixed in with regular Vaseline or unscented moisturizing hand cream (which has mineral oil, castor oil or dimethicone in it) helps. Over time, especially with the Vaseline, it'll melt and you can lightly snort it in. It sounds gross, but it works.
There are moisturizing non-medicated nasal creams and sprays made for sensitive noses. I'm not aware of any brands because I've never had dry nostril/nose issues.
All of that aside, I'll usually opt for psuedoephedrine from the pharmacist before purchasing Afrin. That's a last resort for me if inflammation is terrible. Taking an anti-inflammatory can sometimes help.
For fevers... Honestly, I've had this discussion with various medical professionals and it's.... depends. Sometimes you'll respond better to Tylenol over Advil, and sometimes the opposite. Sometimes if I have a bad headache, Tylenol may not help at all but Advil might, and sometimes it's the complete opposite.
For post-nasal drip, any 1st gen antihistamine is good, but generic Benadryl is the best according to professionals I've spoken to. The other drug generic I mentioned doesn't seem to tire me as much as Benadryl.
For anything else really, I would avoid drugs. I would say Tylenol or Advil being mainstays for fever and pain reduction (when dealing with a flu).
If you have a fever, don't bundle up. Wear easy breathing, loose clothing. Maybe a light sweater if you must. If you find your fever not responding and increasing, go to an ER.
The doctors I spoke to said twice a day or as much as you need to. I would probably go once at night and once in the morning. The brand most recommended seems to be NeilMed. Comes with packets, in 50; 150; 200 and 250 count depending on what your preferred store carries. Contains ph balanced salt and medical grade baking soda. Dissolve one packet in your bottle or two for a hypertonic solution. The latter stings a little bit at first but it seems to dissolve and help move mucus.
Buying distilled water by the jug is easier and safer in the long run. 1-2 ounces microwaved in a clean, sterile glass mug and the rest of the bottle filled to the line with water from the distilled water jug. It should be warm, but not too warm. You can find a lot of information on them, often available on medical practice websites or YouTube channels.
I was told the more horizontal your head is, the deeper the solution will get into the sinus pockets, but that it might feel worse. I felt no sinus pressure and didn't think I had anymore mucus in me before I tried it. I was very wrong.
So with that Zicam swab you won't have that rebound effect. The problem is tied into the medicated version that utilizes oxymetazoline as an active ingredient. You can avoid this by buying a humidifier and using eucalyptus or mint oil in it. I recently ordered a cool mist humidifier using a sonic diaphragm, which requires daily cleaning so you're not spewing bacteria into the air. Maintenance is cheaper on these and I don't enjoy warm moisture. This depends on what you like.
The reality of colds are that with the lower air moisture even if it's raining every day your mucus membranes dry out and you become more susceptible to viral infections. The other doctor at my Dr's practice swears by using Vaseline and snorting it up when it melts to reduce infection rate.
And I recently came across a "homeopathic" nasal spray utilizing saline and xylitol. Saline doesn't do much in the way of reducing pathogens, but xylitol has a profound effect on bad oral bacteria, mainly s. mutans that cause dental cavities. There's been more research on that but I've heard of it being used in gargles and nasal rinse because it doesn't have an adverse effect and repeated exposure in terms of dental bacteria may change future behavior of the bacterial colonies. Personally I wouldn't bother and stick to the aforementioned sinus rinse.
Though I should note newer studies on erythritol put it leaps ahead of xylitol on oral bacteria. Both sugar alcohols are rather pricey, fetching about $14-20 per pound. Both can impact digestion (diarrhea) but these side effects lessen over time with small amounts of exposure. Personally, I think both are great and taste pretty much like sugar sans their "cooling" effect. I use anywhere from 5-10 grams of xylitol daily in my tea or just plain water.
If and when you cough, if anything comes up into your mouth, spit it out. If it tastes salty, that's your post nasal drip. Certain foods or drinks can cause your sinuses and or your chest to release globs of mucus. Spicy food, certain herbal teas (ginger, anise, licorice), or extended exposure to steam vapor can cause this.
I mean even hot water with some honey and a little bit of cayenne will help things get moving. And as others pointed out, carbonated water helps rid mucus buildup in the throat. The carbonation has a surfactant like quality to it.
Reality is the less you rely on drugs unless it irritates you too much, you're better off helping your body rid itself of post-cold mucus as fast and safely as you can. Blowing your nose from time to time helps. Arm and Hammer sells saline nasal mist. You can use that before or after blowing your nose. Spray, lightly breathe in, wait, blow nose, spray again, dab dry.
Always in home, Black Elderberry Syrup and Escorial Grün. The porcelain bottle helps too, nicer to look at.
Thanks for the info! I ran out this morning and purchased a NeilMed Surragator, and rinsed my nose with their saline solution and distilled water. Honestly, I don’t notice much difference regarding how clear my sinuses feel (when breathing) so far, as compared to being under the effect of Zicam medication. I’ll report back in a day or two. However I’m wondering if the sinus rinse, reduces the effectiveness of the Zicam med? I assume your nose tissues absorbs the Zicam medication. I may try to alternate application, or if the saline nose irrigation holds up though the day, I’ll repeat it at night and see if I can make it till morning, with a breathable nose.
Think you mean irrigation...
Effects won't be noticed the first time around. Head should be tilted to the side and forward, aiming diagonally from whatever nostril your start at towards the back of the head-ear area. Half bottle in one nostril, the other half in the other, opposite direction obviously.
I'd use the Zicam swabs after. I forgot to mention, but Vicks and stores carry their own brand of nasal inhalers. Uses the same compounds as the Zicam, but you inhale it. Those helped with "stuffy" noses, too. They're a little strong, though. Strong enough to inhale the vapors and tickle your throat.
Some light exercise midday out in the sun should help, too. Get blood moving, get some fresh air, and in return your nose will begin to run. Blow it.
When I was a runner, running did wonders for clearing congested sinuses, swimming seems to help too. .
It shortens the length of the cold and has no effect on the symptoms, AFAIK. It does seem to work, though. For treatment of the symptoms, I usually go woth Advil Cold and Sinus with pseudoephedrine in it. We keep a box on hand at all times. It's a wonderful thing!
Thanks. I thought in this thread someone said it was worthless to take orally? And that a nose spray is bad because you can lose your sense of smell? How do you tak it?
Slightly off topic, my row with antibiotics in the hospital last year, left me with a severe zinc deficiency that resulted in massive hair loss, loss of taste, insomnia and other gastrointestinal symptoms that were awful.
Taking zinc and eventually wheatgrass stopped those symptoms within 2 days.
Zicam, CounterAttack, Emergen-C and Asorbate C are all good homeopathic remedies too.
I take it in tablet and lozenge form. I avoid the nasal forms of it, just to be safe. Too many folks had issue with that form with Zicam for me to be comfortable with it. Plus, all the research that has been done on zinc as a way to lessen down time has shown that lozenges were the best method, followed by tablets. Those methods have worked for me in the past.
Should also add a steamer cup is a great investment. That and a bottle or olbas oil.
Olbas Oil is an excellent choice; it is made from eucalyptus, has a wonderful scent, and is a superb remedy to ease the symptoms of a stuffed nose.
Sprinkle it on a pillow, or a tissue and inhale.
I have been known to apply it neat.
Agreed. We tend to put a drop on a pillow when needed.
I understand they don’t put zinc in Zicam anymore base on a blurb I read at their website, or maybe they still do, but changed the formula, not sure.
It may be the form of zinc they use too. At any rate, many great suggestions in this thread.
No. That's phenylephrine. You can't buy psuedoephedrine products now OTC, you need to speak to the pharmacist who enters your name and info into a registry. Technically, it's still OTC, but you need to be cleared to purchase it.
Products like Emergen C are simply sucrose sweetened oral vitamin suspensions. Off the top of my head, it's no different than taking a 1-2,000 mg vitamin C tablet and a high quality B-Complex with your food once a day. Even all the vitamins in the world won't protect you from a virus that makes it past your body's defense mechanisms. In theory, it could shorten the duration of a cold, but how short is anyone's guess.
Getting sick sucks, but regardless of how or when, you need to tough it out as best you can. Think of it this way. Your immune system has evolved over millennia to provide protection to your body 24/7. The amount of bacteria and viruses we're exposed to daily is mind boggling. In 99.9% of those cases, our immune system puts a halt to it. Sometimes things make it past the body's initial defense systems and we get a cold.
I don’t get them often but when I do, it’s Mucinex DM, Sudafed and Flonase. Always gets the symptoms under control within 24 hours and I maintain the regimine for 7 days after onset. I typically use the netipot 2-3x per day as welll to rinse out the gunk.
There is some research to suggest both, however the research isn’t exactly strong. If Zicam does reduce the duration of a cold, it’s said to shorten the duration by about a day. It’s also suggested Zicam must be initiated within 24 hours of the development of symptoms. So at most we’re talking about very modest symptom relief. It doesn’t have enough evidence to be a reccomendation in general protocols.
I think it’s important for people to remember that colds and viruses are usually self limiting and OTC medications are just there to treat the symptoms with generally with mild-moderate effects. I’m not a fan on combination products- especially the combination of dextromethorphan (dxm, dm) and guifensen. Guifensen is an expectorant, intented to break up mucus to be coughed up. DXM is a cough supresssant, which basically is working against the action of guifensen. It makes more sense to use guif during the day and DXM at night.
Another common concern is taking multiple products and thereby duplicating medications. For example, many products contain acetaminophen. There have been many cases of people overdosing on acetaminophen by not properly measuring their doses and taking multiple acetaminophen containing products (to the point that the FDA is now limiting the amount in products to reduce the likelihood of this occurring).
People have referred to some of the OTC products as “beyond useless”. I think it would be more accurate to say these products have limited effectiveness. Phenephrine (Sudafed PE) is not as efficacious as psuedophedrine (Sudafed), however psuedophedrine is contraindicated with many patient populations (pts with cardiac issues, children, pregnancy, etc) and isn’t well tolerated by many.
One of the more overlooked solutions for runny nose are first generation antihistamines (Benadryl/diphenhydramine, chlorphenermine, doxylamine). These are very effective at drying the mucous membranes and there is also some evidence they have cough suppressing properties. The drawback is sedation however.
For some reason a lot of doctors mistakenly reccomend 2nd/3rd generation antihistamines, the “non-drowsy”’ones (Claritin/loratidine, Zyrtec/cetirazine, Allegra/fexofenidine, etc). These drugs have no anticholinergic effects which is what makes the first generation drugs effective. Additionally, many doctors mistakenly prescribe nasal steroids (Flonase, Nasonex, etc) for colds which is also usually inappropriate. It’s rather amazing these doctors don’t either don’t understand a pathophysiology of colds and/or the mechanism of action of medications.
Again, I think it’s important to remember the limited efficacy of many of these drugs and the fact colds are self limiting and usually last less than a week. As a PharmD I personally don’t take anything in most cases for these reasons. Rest and hydration are most important.
All that said, I don't recommend taking direct medical advice from the internet. There’s a lot of bad information out there. You should always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking anything- especially if you’re on other medications, have other health issues, or if you’re pregnant/breastfeeding. Again, speaking to a professional ensures you’re taking appropriate medications for your symptoms in the context of your overall health. Oftentimes people end up taking more medications than necessary for their problems. My personal philosophy as a pharmacist is to take the lowest effective dose and the least amount of medications as necessary.
I’d also suggest people be very leery about homeopathic medicine. There is an exceptional amount of misinformation about these substances online. Speaking in generalities, many of these products have very little solid scientific evidence backing them up. Just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safer, more effective, or has less side effects. Some of these products can be quite toxic if taken inappropriately. You also have to be concerned about the products themselves in terms of purity and accurate concentrations as they’re not required to fulfill the same FDA regulations as substances deemed drugs.
[This is not intended as direct medical advice. Again, always talk to your healthcare provider regarding your medications and health]
That's what I said about Zicam as far as a preventative, one day is not really a preventative. However, in my case, it seems to lesson congestion reliably but not completely. To judge, I’d say 50% clear, but I could breath, so I was happy with the result.
There isn’t really evidence or mechanistic explanation that it would acutely reduce congestion in a manner such as you’re describing. I presume the effect is either psychogenic or the natural progression of improvement.
The strongest evidence is that if taken within 24hrs of symptom development it will reduce the duration of the cold. There is less evidence it decreases the severity. On large scale studies however these findings fail to repeat themselves.
Given its weak evidence of efficacy, side effects (diarrhea, cramps, bad taste in mouth, etc... all the way up to toxicity), and drug interactions- particuarly with antibiotics, it’s generally something I wouldn’t promote. But to each his/her own I suppose.
All I can say is that while taking that medication (Zircam) from the start of the cold, my sinuses have remained clear enough, as I previously described, about 50%, and the one night I decided to forego, I woke up in the night with my nose plugged up. That is the one thing that I require in a cold medication, open sinuses. I suppose a placebo argument could be made, but it has consistently kept my nasal passages open. Now, maybe next time, it won’t.
It isn't so much placebo, which is what Goldberg was saying. Typically menthol (peppermint), spearmint (to an extent), eucalyptus oils are fairly good at opening up sinuses.
But so is a hot shower or being outside in the cold while dressed up.
Many years ago Vicks used to shell shower tablets of concentrated oils in a calcium block that you'd place somewhere where water hit and it would slowly release vapors. And it would last maybe 2-3 showers if you allowed it to air dry. The vapors were composed of concentrated menthol, eucalyptus and some other compounds I can't recall.
Historically, these are known for their antimicrobial properties and their ability to comfort irritated sinuses. I'd advise against applying the oil directly to your sinuses or nostrils unless you want a severe chemical burn or worse. As he pointed out, while it does hold some efficacy, them being naturally derived doesn't mean they're completely safe. These are usually also effective for wet coughs, where phlegm is coughed up. They can be grating for dry coughs where the throat it is raw from coughing up nothing and often due to post nasal drip. It's much sensitive to irritants in the air, which is where a humidifier with plain water comes into play.
Run a humidifier in your room at night. Sleep with your head at least 6-8 inches up from the mattress to allow your sinuses to drain easily and not let mucus pool up and lead to inflammation (that cloggy feeling), mucus build up or irritating the throat causing you to wake up to a coughing fit.
I've found a tiny amount of cayenne in any hot liquid is incredibly soothing to a dry cough or sore throat. Avoid anything with caffeine in it, including green tea, decaf coffee (both instant and traditional), sweet food or drink, overly salty food or drink, excessively oily food, nuts, and similar.
Avoid hot liquids. They dry out the throat wet or dry cough. If you have an electric kettle, I'd aim for the lowest temperature available, which is usually anywhere from 115-125* F. Pour and let it cool for 5-8 minutes before consuming. This is more hydrating to irritated tissue.
One thing I'd like to add to this part is those 1st gen antihistamines can cause dry mouth and lack of urination (the bladder will fill up), and affect bowel movement speed due to the anticholinergic effects. Speaking as a laymen, the anti-tussive effect of 1st gens is decent, but I've seen it in children's cough formulas overseas.
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And, for what it's worth, there is no zinc in those swabs. You actually never took in zinc when you came down with your cold. The other ingredients, as pointed out, do have some antimicrobial properties. Though I don't believe vapors alone can kill any pathogens. I don't know of any form of zinc used in the early swabs or sprays that's remotely effective. If you're about to come down with a cold, the pathogens already made their way into your body. You're better off consuming a highly bioavailable form of zinc.
But as I said, I found the sinus rinse to be incredibly helpful and I speak as someone who has to deal with an irritated throat for weeks that never got better. I've got a very slight cough now and my throat feels normal. I even enjoyed a 2 mile walk this morning at 6 AM when it was just over 42* outside. Didn't cough once during or when I got home.
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