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Tips for Treating the Cold and Flu

What to stock in your survival kit for fighting the cold and flu this winter.

Caution: Over-the-Counter Medicines continued...

Decongestant nasal sprays

These products can relieve congestion pretty well in the short term, but after a couple of days your stuffy nose will be back -- with a vengeance -- and the sprays will no longer work.

 If you do use spray decongestants, stop after three days to avoid rebound congestion (relief followed by a return of congestion, only worse).

Zinc nasal swabs

Zinc-based nasal gels and swabs might help dampen your cold, but the FDA warns these products can have a similar effect on your sense of smell. If you want to try zinc, lozenges are a safer option.

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Reviewed on January 03, 2011

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