Cold symptoms cure & tips: zinc and nose drops

Cold symptoms, cause and what to do if you have a cold? Colds are very common, especially when the ‘R’ is in the month. A cold is mainly characterized by nasal complaints (congestion and watery discharge), throat complaints (threatness, sore throat and tickle in the throat). Creepy cough and mild fever can also occur. People do not feel well and sometimes a headache also occurs. The common cold is a contagious condition; the culprit is a virus. Normally a cold goes away on its own after 1 to 3 weeks. The duration of a cold can be shortened by, among other things, zinc.

  • What is a cold?
  • Complications
  • Asthma attacks
  • Serious respiratory infections
  • Second infection
  • Flu
  • Effective remedies for colds
  • Zinc (zinc tablets) for colds
  • Vitamin C for a cold
  • Nasal drops for (nasal) colds
  • Steaming and echinacea preparations for colds

What is a cold?

A cold is caused by a cold virus, of which the rhinoviruses are the most important. On average, someone catches a cold two to four times a year. The incubation period, that is, the period between infection with the virus and the first symptoms, is one to three days. A cold can be accompanied by the following symptoms , among others :

  • nasal congestion;
  • purulent discharge from the nose;
  • cough;

Fatigue / Source:

  • stuffy nose;
  • a tingling or sore nose;
  • sore throat or tickle in the throat;
  • to sneeze;
  • watery eyes;
  • mild headache;
  • mild fatigue or body aches; and
  • slight increase.

Cold viruses can be passed from person to person not only by coughing and sneezing, but also by touching contaminated surfaces such as door handles.


Asthma attacks

Asthma patients can experience asthma attacks due to certain cold viruses.

Serious respiratory infections

The respiratory syncytial virus (RS virus for short) can cause serious respiratory infections or even pneumonia in children under the age of 2. Premature babies and children with heart or lung disease or immune disorders are mainly susceptible to this virus.

Second infection

A cold weakens the body’s resistance, making a person more susceptible to other bacteria and viruses. For example, a second and often more serious infection can occur, such as an ear infection, flu or acute bronchitis. A cold is often confused with the flu (influenza), while the flu is caused by the influenza virus, which often comes as a second infection after the common cold.


The mucous membrane in the airways is also inflamed with flu. Flu often manifests itself with chills throughout the body and a sudden onset of fever that can rise to 39°C or higher within half a day. In addition to chills and high fever, other characteristic symptoms of flu are: headache, muscle aches, sore throat and dry cough. The cough is caused by the fact that an influenza virus can cause inflammation in the mucous membrane of the nose, throat or sinuses, as well as in the trachea, bronchi or lungs. Sometimes the coughing can last for a very long time.

Effective remedies for colds

Normally a cold goes away on its own after 1 to 3 weeks. However, there are remedies that shorten the duration and make the cold less severe.

Zinc tablets during colds

Zinc (zinc tablets) for colds

Zinc is an important trace element that promotes the natural immune system. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for men aged 19 and over is 10 mg/day and women can suffice with 9 mg/day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have a higher zinc requirement. Zinc is naturally present in foods such as meat, liver, fish and eggs. Long-term daily intake of a high dose of zinc as a supplement can lead to a copper deficiency at some point. Excessive amounts of zinc can also cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

In a 2011 review, researchers concluded that taking zinc syrup, tablets or lozenges reduces the severity and duration of colds in otherwise healthy people.[1/2] It is important that the person stays indoors Start taking zinc 24 hours after the first cold symptoms appear. Zinc is thought to stop viruses from entering the body and multiplying. Further research is needed to determine the correct dosage and the best form of administration. Zinc cannot be taken for a long period of time as an overdose can pose a health risk.

Zinc effective for colds
In 2015, a meta-analysis of three randomized trials was conducted on the effects of zinc lozenges. This study was initiated following previous results showing that a high dose of zinc acetate lozenges shortened the duration of a cold by 42%. These lozenges melt in the pharynx. That is why people were curious whether the effects of zinc only affected the pharynx or whether zinc also reduces coughing, for example.

The analysis found that using zinc lozenges of 80-92mg/day reduces the duration of a runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat by roughly a third. For complaints such as muscle pain, hoarseness and coughing, the complaints resolved almost half as quickly compared to the control group consisting of patients who had not taken zinc. The duration of fever or headache did not decrease.[3]

According to research, taking zinc supplements can shorten the length of a cold by almost half. A dose of more than 75 mg zinc acetate reduces the length of the common cold by 42 percent. A dose lower than 75 mg has no effect.[4]

Vitamin C for a cold

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is the most well-known vitamin. It is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an indispensable role in maintaining resistance. Vitamin C is one of the many antioxidants and is able to neutralize harmful free radicals. Certain scientific studies indicate that taking a high dose of vitamin C daily is a safe and effective way to fight viral infections.[5] Regular use of vitamin C could even prevent a viral infection.

Nasal drops for (nasal) colds

Nasal drops for colds can be divided into two groups:

  • drops containing NaCl; and
  • nasal drops with sympathomimetics.[6]

Sodium chloride (NaCl) is a salt that thins the mucus, making it easy to remove. A sympathomimetic agent shrinks the thickened nasal mucosa. Decongestants have a beneficial, albeit short-term, effect on nasal congestion.[7] Its use may result in a burning sensation in the nose. These drugs should not be used for longer than a week due to the rebound effect, i.e. a return (often to an increased extent) of a phenomenon previously suppressed by the action of a drug when its use is stopped.

Otrivin Duo nasal spray is an over-the-counter medicine that can be used for nasal colds. The product contains two active ingredients. Firstly, ipratropium, which reduces mucus production in the nose. Secondly, xylometazoline, which constricts the blood vessels in the nasal mucosa, causing the swollen nasal mucosa to shrink.

Steaming and echinacea preparations for colds

According to GP and Science, steaming appears to be of little use and too little good quality research has been conducted on echinacea preparations to be able to say anything meaningful about it.[8]


  1. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD001364. The review includes 15 studies with a total of 1360 participants.
  2. General Practice and Science, volume 2011, number 6:347-347
  3. Hemilä H, et al. The effectiveness of high dose zinc acetate lozenges on various common cold symptoms: a meta-analysis. BMC Fam Pract 2015;16:24.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Gorton HC, Jarvis K. The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999 Oct;22(8):530-3
  6. General Practitioner and Science, volume 2002, number 2:85-87
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.

read more

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