The Dreaded Cold.
As I write this post, I feel a slight tickle in the back of my throat as I swallow. The dreaded cold, is it coming? For one month, I have so consciously resisted the virus that has plagued what seems like everyone around me. Taking a daily multivitamin, eating as healthy as possible, and washing my hands multiple times a day are among my efforts to stay germ free. Despite my many precautions, when I woke this morning with a stuffy nose and that sand paper feeling in my throat, a wave of dismay fell over me. After complaining to my roommate about my upcoming sorority retreat and midterm, she suggested I try zinc lozenges to prevent and/or shorten my looming cold. For years, I had thought this remedy among others to be a complete hoax, but my roommate insisted I try one. Instead of opening my dresser drawer and reaching for the plethora of over-the-counters I had stockpiled for this exact reason, I decided to give it a shot. As I sucked on the cherry flavored tablet, I held the Whole Foods labeled bottle in my hand and thought about the topic for my essay, scientific myths and what we believe as the truth.
Defaulting to Google for some more information, I came upon this article. In short, it indicates that research has shown that zinc can potentially reduce the length of the common cold. In no way are zinc supplements a proven remedy, but the WebMD article offers some interesting facts about zinc’s properties in fighting the common cold. While the label directs users to dissolve no more than one every four hours, I can’t help but wonder, is there such a thing as too much zinc? Taken every three to four hours, according to one physician, can reduce the length of the common cold by almost 50%, why wouldn’t I just dissolve half the bottle? Is zinc much more than a naturally occurring element? Much to my surprise, the article goes on to say there are indeed drawbacks of zinc overdose, some of which can be potentially fatal.
With this, I rethink my outlook on homeopathic remedies. While I default to Sudafed, Mucinex, and NyQuil, others rely solely on zinc, salt water gargles, and Vitamin C. Is there truth among the ancient pharmaceutical practices of billions of people across the globe? I guess I’ll find out as my cold progresses, but for now, hand over the kleenex.