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Zinc Gluconate and Hand Washing Fight Colds

  [ 277 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • December 24, 2003

Expert Recommends Zinc Gluconate-Based Products to Shorten Common Cold and Avoid Overuse of Antibiotics

PHOENIX, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Improved hand washing techniques and early use of zinc gluconate, the active ingredient in over-the-counter products such as Zicam(R) Cold Remedy, are effective first-line defenses against the common cold, according to Dr. Charles Gerba, professor of environmental microbiology, at the University of Arizona at Tucson.

Research conducted at the University of Arizona at Tucson found that 60 percent of people will wash their hands after using a public restroom, but only 15 percent (less than one in five individuals) will effectively eliminate germs.

"People with colds will literally hand you the rhinovirus if you are not careful. And, because poor hand washing habits are so prevalent in the United States, everyone will get the common cold at some point," says Dr. Gerba. "Unlike most over-the-counter remedies which mask cold symptoms, clinically proven* zinc gluconate-based products, like Zicam Cold Remedy, treat the cold itself, safely and effectively shortening the duration and severity of the illness."

Each day, Americans come in contact with a variety of potentially contaminated hotspots such as kitchens, bathrooms, offices, and even other individuals that may result in exposure to the many viruses that can cause the common cold such as rhinovirus and coronavirus. These viruses can be transmitted with a simple wipe of the eyes or nose.

"Antibiotic resistance is one of the world's most pressing public health problems. You can argue that we suffer from 'antibiotic abuse' in the United States," says Dr. Gerba. "Instead of taking antibiotics to treat the common cold, people would be better off using an over-the-counter product such as Zicam Cold Remedy to manage their condition."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by a doctor to treat bacterial infections and are not effective against viral infections like the common cold, most sore throats, and the flu. In the early stages of sickness, it is often difficult to determine whether the symptoms are due to a bacterial or viral infection and many patients request a prescription for an antibiotic. Each time an antibiotic is used, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant germs may remain to grow and multiply. Decreasing inappropriate antibiotic use is the best way to control resistance.

About the Common Cold

The National Institutes of Health estimate more than 200 different viruses, including about 110 rhinoviruses, are known to cause common cold symptoms. Americans are expected to suffer from one billion colds this year.

The nose is the main portal of entry for cold viruses. The highest
concentration of cold virus in nasal secretion occurs during the first three days of infection. This is when infected persons are most contagious.

About Matrixx Initiatives, Inc.

Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. is engaged in the development, manufacture and marketing of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, which utilize innovative drug delivery systems. Zicam, LLC, its wholly-owned subsidiary, produces, markets and sells Zicam(R) Cold Remedy nasal gel, a patented, homeopathic remedy that has been clinically proven to significantly reduce the duration and severity of the common cold. In studies published in the October 2000 issue of ENT -- Ear, Nose and Throat Journal, and separately in the January 2003 issue of QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, the Zicam Cold Remedy product was shown to reduce significantly the duration of the common cold.


* Hirt M, Nobel S, Barron E. Zinc nasal gel for the treatment of common
cold symptoms: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ear Nose
Throat J. 2000;79:778-780, 782.

* Mossad SB. Effect of zincum gluconicum nasal gel on the duration and symptom severity of the common cold in otherwise healthy adults. QJM. 2003;96:35-43.

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