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Cold Treatment

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Mejreme Demirovic has a cold that's making her feel lousy. "Pressure in the nose. Coughing, chest congestion..."

A new study reviews prevention and treatments for the common cold and finds clean hands are the key to staying healthy. "Really washing your hands a lot, hand sanitizers work great," says Dr. Amy Esposito of Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

The research published in the Canadian Medical Association journal also found zinc supplements may work for kids and adults and probiotics may also help.

The common cold really is common. Adults can get the virus two to three times a year and young children can get it even more often. "The symptoms will probably linger whether you treat them or not."

Researchers say drugs combining antihistamines with decongestants or pain medication appear to be somewhat effective in treating colds in adults and older children, but not in younger kids. Cough medicines showed a slight benefit in adults.

Vitamin C and echinachea showed no benefit.

Mejreme is pregnant, so she hasn't been taking anything to manage her symptoms. "Can't wait to feel better."

Her doctor recommends saline nasal spray, plenty of fluids and rest while the cold runs its course.

The study also shows antibiotics have no effect on treating colds. Honey seemed to have some benefit for children over one.

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