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Pharmacists reveal myths and truths about the common cold
10.22.2010A national survey conducted among adults in the U.S. has revealed that many Americans still believe false myths about the common cold, and some of the misconceptions as to how to prevent or treat it.
According to pharmacists, the most difficult myths to eradicate include the belief that antibiotics can kill the cold virus and that the illness can be caused by changes in the weather, getting wet or sitting in a draft.
Additionally, a significant majority of Americans reported that they rely upon home remedies - such as chicken soup, orange juice and vitamins - to get rid of a cold. Only 24 percent said that they had over-the-counter medications at hand for when they become sick.
"Consumer misperceptions about how they catch a cold - and how and when they should treat a cold - are the most prevalent barriers to optimal treatment," said Fred Eckel, a professor of pharmacy at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. "As cold season approaches, it's important for consumers to understand the benefits of early intervention against a cold, and to focus on effective ways to shorten its duration."
Doctors and pharmacists typically recommend increasing zinc intake to reduce the duration of illness, and say that early treatment of a cold with over-the-counter remedies can prevent it from worsening.
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