Vitamin C Won't Cure Symptoms Of A Cold, But Zinc And Washing Your Hands Just Might

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If you're suffering from your second or third cold of the season wondering 'Why God Why' this keeps recurring, the answer may lie in your methods of cold prevention.

According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, much-loved methods - which include ginseng, vapour rubs and homeopathy - prove inconclusive. And that favourite tablet of the nation - vitamin C - is utterly useless once the cold develops.

Instead, the best preventatives and methods for when you have the cold are washing your hands and taking zinc.

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A new review by Dr Michael Allan, of the University of Alberta in Canada, and Dr Bruce Arroll, of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, based their findings from 67 trials.

They discovered that zinc supplements of 10 or 15mg a day works for children, resulting in lower rates of colds and less time off school caused by colds, and believe it would also help adults.

As for what to take once you have symptoms, paracetamol, ibuprofen and perhaps antihistamine-decongestant combinations are among best treatments.

On average, said the Mail Online, the common cold strikes 930,000 Britons, on average, on any day in winter, with more than 200 viruses to blame.

"Adults can expect to suffer between two and five colds a year, although they don’t always lead to symptoms. Symptoms such as sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, cough and malaise are usually worse for the first three days but can last up to three weeks."

Some people also mistakenly take antibiotics to cure colds, which won't work as they are viral illnesses, not bacterial.