Researchers have found that taking zinc syrup, lozenges or tablets within a day of the onset of cold symptoms reduces the severity and length of the illness.
They found that at seven days, more of the patients who took zinc had overcome their symptoms compared to those who took placebos. And children who took zinc syrup or lozenges for five months or longer caught fewer colds and took less time off school.
Zinc also reduced antibiotic use in children, which is important because overuse has implications for antibiotic resistance.
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