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Brushing Up on Cold Remedies

Posted by on November 20th, 2017 Posted in: Commentary, NLM Resources
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Pill bottle Miracle Cure

FDA graphic by Michael J. Ermarth

The first week in November, I felt a tickle in my throat. Within twenty-four hours, this developed into a full-fledged head cold. Fever, sore throat, stuffy nose. Misery. As the symptoms dragged on, I found myself wanting a miracle cure. HealthDay posted this article just as a cough was settling into my chest. As the article suggests, I learned that the miracle cure is rest, plenty of fluids and time. Lots and lots of time.

Cold and flu season is the perfect opportunity for us to brush up on evidence-based remedies. For background information, take a look at the Common Cold page on MedlinePlus. This page links to many reputable resources for guidance on ways to distinguish colds, flu and allergy; to learn the best uses of humidifiers; and to view an illustrated explanation of the common cold. MedlinePlus is a great resource for dispelling myths, such as the need for antibiotics for runny noses.

Curious about natural remedies? MedlinePlus links directly to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) for Treatment and Therapies information. NCCIH discusses scientific studies on American ginseng, echinacea, garlic, honey, meditation, probiotics, saline nasal irrigation, vitamin C and zinc.

To explore susceptibility to colds, NCCIH links to relevant research on this web page, such as: Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Doyle WJ, et al. Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2012;109(16):5995-5999. doi:10.1073/pnas.1118355109.

For those of us who want to look deeper into the medical literature, the same NCCIH web page links to this PubMed search:

Filter: systematic
MeSH Terms: humans
Publication Type: meta-analysis; review
majr: influenza, human; complementary therapies; common cold
lang: english

A great jumping-off place for performing your own literature searches.

Stand Up for Health

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine is teaming up with the Public Library Association for a new initiative called “Promoting Healthy Communities”. We will be working together to increase library staff* knowledge and skills related to reliable health information resources. If you work in a public library, please consider attending our Public Library Association preconference on Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

*This initiative is intended for anyone who works in a public library, regardless of educational degrees or job description.

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