Is Taking Zinc Beneficial for Treating a Cold ?

Using zinc is one of the many home remedies people take when they feel like they have a common cold. Those who use it believe that it helps to shorten the duration of the cold and even lessen its symptoms.

The common cold is caused by the rhinovirus. This virus enters the body through the nasal passageway and the throat and multiplies rapidly once it is there.
The theory behind taking zinc is that it helps to prevent the virus from multiplying once it is in the body, thereby potentially shortening the duration of the cold. It also plays an important role in the body’s ability to resist infection and to help tissue repair.

The best way to take zinc is in lozenge form. It is recommended that the lozenge contain 13 to 23 milligrams of zinc and no more than four be taken per day, and not for more than four or five days. Taking too much zinc can actually suppress the immune system and can cause an upset stomach and give you a metallic taste in your mouth. While zinc is also available as a throat spray, it has side effects such as loss of the ability to smell.

Increasing the daily intake of zinc may help to prevent a cold.  Some foods where zinc  is found include:
• Shellfish
• Beans
• Dairy products
• Red meat
• Nuts

It is important to note that drinking coffee, tea or taking certain medications can inhibit the absorption of zinc by the intestines.

It is a good idea to speak with your physician before taking it to make sure that is safe for you. If you would like to be seen by a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center you may call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Immune System?

Hispanic girl lying on her mother's lap

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system, but how? Studies show that people that don’t get quality sleep or enough hours of sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus like the flu. The recovery time from a cold is also prolonged as a result of not getting enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation may decrease production of the amount of infection-fighting antibodies and cells that strengthen the immune system. Essentially our bodies need sleep to fight infectious diseases and recover faster from common cold viruses.

How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

It’s very common to be told to get some rest when fighting off a cold or infection. Now we know why. As we move through cold and flu season, the key to staying healthy might just be getting a good night’s sleep.

However sleep does not always come easy to everyone. If you or someone you know is experiencing trouble with their sleep patterns, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Sleep Center is available to treat you. This state-of-the-art Sleep Center is a 4-bed unit that features comfortable, homelike rooms with sound proof walls for total privacy. For more information please call, 718-206-5916.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How to tell the difference between a long lasting cold, bronchitis or pneumonia

difference between a cold and bronchitisThat dreaded time of year is here, it is cold season.  In the United States, this season starts around September and typically lasts until March or April.

Chances are like many, you may catch a cold. If you do, you may display symptoms that include sneezing, scratchy or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, congestion or a low-grade fever. These symptoms are normal but can worsen when left untreated and may cause serious illnesses such as bronchitis or pneumonia to develop.

It is important to know when your condition is worsening. There are several signs that can help you to recognize when your common cold has become something more.

Here are some symptoms of bronchitis to look out for:

  • A cold that persists for two weeks or more
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Coughs that produce thick clear, white, green or yellow mucous or blood
  • Rapid breathing
  • Soreness of the chest

Pneumonia can develop after having a serious cold or flu. Symptoms can be mild or severe depending on factors such as age and your state of health. The symptoms of pneumonia can include:

  • Violent coughing spasms that produce very little mucous
  • Coughs with bloody or yellow or greenish mucous
  • Fever
  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain when you breathe deeply or cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Clammy skin or excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches

If your cold persists longer than two weeks and you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important that you contact your doctor as soon as possible. In severe cases, pneumonia can be life threatening.

To schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.