• By Laurel J. Kelly

Housecall: Treating your cold symptoms

January 22, 2018

a young man and woman sick with colds or the flu, with red noses and tissues in hand, sneezingTHIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Cold remedies: What works, what doesn't, what can't hurt 
Cold remedies are almost as common as the common cold, but are they effective? For generations, people have turned to chicken soup to relieve their symptoms. Does it really work? What about other remedies? Get the facts and feel better soon.

Smart use of opioids and other ways to manage pain
Opioids are a broad group of pain-relieving drugs. They are sometimes the right treatment for pain, but they're never without risk. Find out how to use opioids safely, and discover alternative ways to ease discomfort.

EXPERT ANSWERS
Can chronic stress cause depression?
Depression has many possible causes, including genetics and brain chemistry. Chronic stressful life situations can increase your risk of developing depression if you aren't coping with the stress well. Learn more from Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist.

Is petroleum jelly safe for a dry nose?
Need to soothe a dry nose? Petroleum jelly is generally safe to use, but it can cause lung problems in certain cases. Learn more from Dr. Lawrence Gibson, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist.

PLUS ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Dental implant surgery
Strep throat
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Complete blood count

HEALTHY RECIPES
Whole-grain banana bread
Quinoa cakes
Quesadillas
Asian pork tenderloin

HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
Does zinc work for colds?
The research isn't clear on whether zinc is helpful for the common cold, because many zinc studies — both those that found zinc beneficial and those that didn't — were flawed. In studies with positive results, zinc lozenges or syrup appeared to shorten a cold by one day and seemed most effective when taken within 24 hours of the start of symptoms. Taking zinc lozenges with food may reduce side effects, such as a bad taste and nausea. Steer clear of zinc nasal spray, however, which may permanently damage your sense of smell.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

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