Dec 102008
 
zicam cold remedy

zicam cold remedy

Zicam is a homeopathic common cold remedy which claims to prevent and reduce the duration and severity of common cold symptoms.  Does Zicam Really Work? What Zicam doesn’t claim to do is to completely cure you of a cold that you already have. The key is to catch the cold before it catches you. The key is also that it’s a common cold, not some other nasty virus , which we’ll explain later. Zicam claims to be most effective when it is used at the very first, noticeable symptoms of a common cold. So, the very instant you notice a tickly nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, sniffling or any other cold symptoms that are familiar to you, is the time to begin using the Zicam Cold Remedy.  The makers of Zicam site clinical research that suggests the duration of colds can be reduced by up to 75%. Also, they claim that the severity of symptoms is greatly reduced, though there is no research cited on this. The average cold lasts 3-7 days, so if you don’t begin using Zicam until your 2nd or 4rd day into a cold, it may have little or no benefit. The makers of Zicam make other products designed to treat the symptoms, as well, which can be purchased at the bottom of this article. The emphasis of this review is to describe what Zicam is, how Zicam works, and make a case for whether or not Zicam is effective against the common cold.

What is Zicam?

Zicam is a nasal gel formula, consisting of the active ingredient, Zincum Gluconicum. Clinical research studies have revealed that certain forms of zinc might be effective in treating and preventing colds. According to Zicam makers, the Zincum Gluconicum is the most effective. It is sold in two forms: Zicam Cold Remedy Gel Swabs and Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel. The Gel Swabs Cold Remedy includes 20 swabs. The Nasal Gel Cold Remedy comes in a .5 fluid ounce bottle with trigger applicator.

How do I use Zicam?

The instant you think you’re catching a cold, open up one of the prepackaged Zicam Gel Nasal Swabs and apply the gel just inside both of your nostrils. For the .5 fluid ounce Zicam Nasal Gel, insert the applicator about 1/8″ of the way inside your nostril, point the applicator slightly outward and push down on the trigger applicator. Do not sniff the gel up your nose; gently massage the outside of your nostrils to rub it in. Reapply every four hours, and continue to do so up to 48 hours after the symptoms of your cold have disappeared.

Does Zicam really work?

The answer is yes and no. This is not a very scientific answer, but at least it is consistent with my own research which I will reveal in this non-scientific research article. In the past three years, I have had a total of 11 colds. Here are the results of the Zicam treatment of these colds through three years of use:

  • Year-1
    I either had no colds at all, or the Zicam made it seem that way. On four different occasions, when I experienced cold symptoms early-on, I began using Zicam Nasal Gel in the first two days. In each case, the cold symptoms either completely vanished by 2nd day, or were so insignificant they were forgotten.
  • Year-2
    I experienced what I would consider a ‘common cold’ two times, but neither of them lasted longer than 5 days. I used Zicam throughout, and it seemed to keep the colds in check. The Zicam didn’t completely relieve all of the symptoms, but it did seem to keep the nasal congestion at a tolerable level, and the lingering affects of the cold vanished much more quickly than I expected. Two other times, I felt colds coming on as I did in year-1. After using Zicam, they either vanished, or were never actually colds at all.  I should also mention, that I went to the doctor for a sinus infection. The symptoms were nothing like a cold, and as would be expected, the Zicam was of no benefit.
  • Year 3
    This was my sickliest year in over a decade. In the early fall, I had another one of those almost-maybe-kind-of-sort of colds. As usual, the Zicam seemed to stop it in its tracks. The fun started in December. My symptoms began with body aches, fever and a tickly nose. I began using Zicam, but things got worse from there. I ended up being sick for 10 days with terrible head congestion that later turned into a lingering cough. The Zicam was of no use. It wasn’t until 2 weeks later that I was completely well. As if this wasn’t enough, I got hit again in late February. The symptoms began with a fever that lasted for three days. Again, the Zicam was of no use. I was coughing and sick for 3-4 week with what may have been the honest-to-goodness flu, not a common cold. Then, just for kicks I decided to get sick with another cold in June! This one was your proto-typical common cold. There was no fever, but lots of nasal congestion, even though I was taking Zicam! The cold did seem to stop 4-days later, just as abruptly as it came, so how much good the Zicam did is a mystery.

 

Side Effects of Zicam: Loss of Taste and Smell

The only side effect I’ve ever noticed with Zicam is that my wallet is $11 or $12 lighter every time I purchase it at the local grocery or drug store. As of this writing there were no known side effects to using this product, according to the Zicam makers. New information on Anosmia (loss of taste and smell) is below. For more information, visit their website:

Conclusion on Zicam Cold Remedy Effectiveness

As you can see, there is lots of uncertainty involved in reaching a conclusion about the effectiveness of Zincum Gluconicum-based Zicam Cold Remedies. The common-cold is a bit of a misnomer in that all colds seem to come with their own unique set of symptoms, severity and durations. In using Zicam in the past 3 years; I’ve had 6 possible colds that were nearly non-existent, 3 certain colds  that seemed to end much quicker than usual, and  2 sicknesses that were probably something much worse than a cold. The one conclusion I can make with confidence is that Zicam was of no benefit to the flu-type bug or other severe viruses that began with a fever and coughing. I did seem to be better off against those common, ordinary cold bugs that normally pester and annoy me with a stuffy nose for several days. For this reason, I’ll continue to use Zicam rather than face the risks of lengthier common colds. But, does Zicam really work? To answer the question, a second time: Yes and no. While using Zicam, some colds seemed like they were never colds to begin with, some colds seemed not to last as long as I expected, and some colds ended up not being colds at all, but something much worse. So, yes, the perception is that Zicam really does work. The reality is that there is no way to be sure using my own unscientific research. What’s more important is that sometimes, perception is just as valuable as reality.  Therefore, My rating is based on the perception of how well Zicam worked for me.

Loss of Taste and Smell

Zicam Nasal gel products have been taken off the market, due to a reported side effect from users known as, anosmia. (Loss of Smell)
In my many years of using the product, I have never experienced a loss of smell and/or taste. Apparently, several people have experienced these side effects and several law suits later, Zicam took their nasal gel Cold Remedy products off the market. I have been using the alternative Zicam products like the mouth spray. I will report on its effectiveness in an updated review on Zicam Cold Remedy Products.

Zicam Ratings

  • Effectiveness: 80
  • Ease of Use: 80
  • Symptoms: 80
  • Cost: 70
  • Final Rating: 77

  2 Responses to “Zicam Cold Remedy Review and Update”

  1. Just a warning — if you use the nasal gel, do not sniff it up your nose. I had a friend that did that and has lost her sense of smell. Turns out Zicam has a lot of lawsuits because of this problem. The instructions do tell you not to do this but it’s easy to do.

  2. Good advice. I believe you. Thanks for sharing.

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