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The Secret to Fighting Off Colds and Preserving Your Productivity

After a night of tossing and turning, I woke up this morning feeling pretty crummy. Sore throat, mild headache, general malaise -- exactly the symptoms that, for me, precede a cold. My first reaction was probably the same as anybody's: "Oh, no! I can't get sick right now!"

Forget the OJ, the chicken soup, the hot baths -- if you want to ward off a cold (or at least shorten its duration and severity), get yourself some zinc.

As reported in yesterday's "New York Times," zinc makes cold sufferers feel better faster. This conclusion is based on a "sweeping new review of the medical research on zinc," which showed that lozenges, tablets, and syrups can all make colds end at least a day sooner and reduce the severity of their symptoms.

Here's a particularly interesting excerpt:

In some of the cited studies, the benefits of zinc were significant. A March 2008 report in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, for example, found that zinc lozenges cut the duration of colds to four days from seven days, and reduced coughing to two days from five.
To the drugstore! Luckily, I'm not too late, as the studies indicated that if you start your zinc treatment within 24 hours of the symptoms, you can still reap the benefits.

Okay, fellow sickies: What's your take on zinc? Are you already a believer? A longtime fan? Or is this news to you? If you have another method for sending colds packing, what is it? [via Lifehacker]

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