Slide 4 Echinacea ? for common cold

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 Echinacea? for Common Cold..

Echinacea ? for Common Cold..

Echinacea purpurea is a plant commonly thought to be helpful in the prevention and treatment of common cold. Unregulated by FDA this is available quite readily in pharmacies all over the US.

Common cold occurs frequently throughout the year at least once a year in adults and upto 5-6 times in children, especially daycare going children. Frequently due to rhinovirus the symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, fever and malaise occur within 2 days of exposure and can persist upto 2 weeks and be quite debilitating. Many seek a physician visit and this may prompt the use of antibiotics, as upto 5% of the cases may have additional bacterial infection.

A recent meta analysis, published in JAMA, of all the studies of Echinacea in common cold failed to show efficacy in the treatment or prevention of common cold. Other alternative agents commonly used without evidence of efficacy include vitamin C, ginseng, decongestants, antihistaminics, cough suppressants. Turmeric, and other herbal products are also of debatable use.

However several agents have some efficacy in alleviating some of the symptoms. A few trials have shown that Zinc and probiotics may play a role in decreasing the frequency or recurrence of common cold among children. Dextromethorphan may also help suppress cough in adults too. Honey in children above a year of age has been shown to help cough symptoms. Steam, vapor rub and gargling may also help to some extent. Tylenol and ibuprofen obviously help in decreasing the discomfort or fever associated with the cold.

In summary, avoidance of exposure to common areas during the cooler seasons, frequent hand hygiene, a multivitamin tablet daily, and avoidance of sick contacts may be the key to a healthier winter.