Whenever I hear about a cure for the common cold, I remember the old explanation that folk remedies will make the cold go away in about seven days, whereas the cold would probably last a whole week without them. Nevertheless, if I have or think I'm getting a cold, I hit it with everything I've got: all the sleep I can sleep for, copious amounts of weak herbal tea laced with raw honey, chicken soup made chunky with raw sliced garlic, gargling salt water, you name it. I'm not allowed cough and cold syrups or anything drug-related, but I'm all over the folk remedy pharmacopoeia.
So when a reader offered me a trial of Cold-EEZE, a non-pharmaceutical product that is supposed to stave off or, failing that, shorten the duration of the common cold I said yes, please. It would be usable in circumstances where chewing on raw garlic is inadvisable and hey, pilots can't resist free stuff. (On that topic, here's a year-old post on pilot cheapness via The Flying Pinto, a witty and frequently-updated flight attendant blog.)
The theory is that zinc ions interfere with the reproduction of the virus, which sounds plausible, thus increasing its efficacy as a placebo, plus I have seen this in places other than on the manufacturer's website, so I suspect it's even true. The trick seems to be getting the zinc into your system in an active yet palatable form.
Cold-EEZE offers a pretty good choice of how to ingest your zinc. There are lozenges, gumballs, chicklet-sized gum and several different flavours. I find that if you have just one, it's tasty, like a piece of candy, but following the directions and having them every few hours all day the underlying metallic medicinal taste becomes more apparent. It's still perfectly palatable and I find that it helps to vary the flavours, so have a green tea one and then a honey-lemon one and then later a cherry one. They should sell a "mixed flavour" pack. (I'm mixing and matching from the various different boxes). I gave a box to a coworker when she and her husband-to-be were both sick with a sore throat, but she reported them too sweet to be palatable, admitting that she was having trouble swallowing anything so it might not be a fair assessment.
I suppose this is a testimonial, but I have no idea whether they work for me or not because I haven't cut back on the other preventative techniques, and who is to say which times when I thought I might be coming down with a cold but didn't, the Cold-EEZE thwarted the rhinovirus? There's no 'control Aviatrix' out there NOT taking the remedies for me to check up and see if she gets more colds than me. I haven't ever had to beg off work because I was sick or congested, and I don't eat garlic when I'm in close contact with other people, so they're probably helping. I call them my magic placebo pills.
Oh and e-mail just arrived continuing the theme of free stuff: Leading Edge Aviation at the airport in Ogden, Utah has free hot dogs at 5 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. I got on their mailing list by buying fuel, and it makes me laugh every time they e-mail me to invite me, so I have never asked them to take me off.