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Study: Clean hands key to cold prevention

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Mejreme Demirovic has a cold that's making her feel lousy. "Pressure in the nose, coughing, chest congestion," Demirovic said.

A new study reviews prevention and treatments for the common cold and finds clean hands are key to prevention.
 
"Really washing your hands a lot, hand sanitizers work great," said Dr. Amy Esposito with Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

The research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal also found zinc supplements may work for kids and adults, and probiotics may also help. The common cold really is common -- adults can get the virus two to three a year. Young children can have it  more often. "The symptoms will probably linger whether you treat them or not," Dr. Esposito said.

Researchers say drugs combining antihistamines with decongestants or pain medication appear to be somewhat effective in treating colds in adults and older children but not in younger kids.
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help with pain and fever, but ibuprofen may work better for children. Cough medicines showed a slight benefit in adults. Vitamin C and echinacea showed no benefit.
 
Mejreme is pregnant, so she hasn't been taking anything to manage her symptoms. Her doctor recommends saline nasal spray, plenty of fluids and rest while the cold runs its course.

Alexis Christoforous - CBS News

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