Kids and Colds

The average American child gets four to six colds a year. Now a push is on to offer some relief. Researchers found that one type of zinc lozenge helped adults recover quicker from colds.

The blowing…
The coughing…for kids with colds…it adds up to pure misery.

Tamara Goetz, 16-year-old:
“The sneezing and the coughing…it hurts a lot.”

Robbin Collins, mother:
“One gets it. They give it to the other and it just doesn’t stop.”

Pharmacy shelves are lined with products promising relief. One study showed zinc lozenges cut the length of colds almost in half among adults. Doctors aren’t sure how zinc works. One theory is zinc settles in the virus, which usually binds to bumps of the mucous membranes.

Michael Macknin, pediatrician, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH:
“So the viruses basically can’t stick to the lining of the respiratory track and can’t infect you.”

Working with two local school districts, Cleveland Clinic researchers are studying whether zinc also works in kids. Without knowing which is which, half the student participants receive placebo lozenges. The other half get zinc. Researchers monitor and compare how long the symptoms last in both groups. Nathan Collins’ mom went ahead and gave him the real thing when a cold struck over the weekend.

Nathan Collins, 10-year-old:
“It didn’t take very long for it to go away. I mean, it went away really fast.”

But doctors say more studies are needed before zinc is hailed as a true superhero to conquer the common cold.

Some words of caution…doctors warn that zinc lozenges have not been shown to prevent a cold. So don’t load up on mega-doses in hopes of avoiding one. And because of the danger of choking, lozenges should never be given to pre-schoolers.

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