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if they start sucking on zinc lozenges at the very first symptom of a cold, a full-blown common cold does not manifest.
Though many people believe vitamin C combats the common cold, studies have found only minimal benefit, shaving a half-day to a day off the duration of the cold.
Although a stuffy nose can occur in other conditions, like the common cold, many people confuse simple nasal congestion with sinusitis.
Rhinoviruses are the most common cause of acute upper respiratory tract infections (ARTI) or the common cold.
For treating the common cold, zinc lozenges are dissolved slowly in the mouth.
Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre, said: "Echinacea is a traditional medicine that has a very long history for treating infection, back to the native North American Indians.
It compared the effects of a commercially produced cordial apple and blackcurrant drink either "hot" or at room temperature in 30 volunteers with common cold symptoms.
The researchers infected mice with encephalomyelitis virus, a member of a family of aggressive viruses that include those responsible for the common cold, polio, and hepatitis A.
According to popular folklore, it has long been held that chilling the surface of the body through, for example, wet clothes and feet, can cause common cold symptoms to develop.
Participants used a five-point scale to assess their health and recorded any common cold infections and symptoms in a daily diary.
The supplement may represent a cure for the common cold.