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PHOENIX -- Improved hand washing techniques and early use of zinc gluconate are effective first-line defenses against the common cold, according to Dr. Charles Gerba, professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona at Tucson.
Research conducted at the University of Arizona at Tucson found that 60 percent of people will wash their hands after using a public restroom, but only 15 percent (less than one in five individuals) will effectively eliminate germs.
"People with colds will literally hand you the rhinovirus if you are not careful. And, because poor handwashing habits are so prevalent in the United States, everyone will get the common cold at some point," says Gerba. "Unlike most over-the-counter remedies which mask cold symptoms, clinically proven* zinc gluconate-based products treat the cold itself, safely and effectively shortening the duration and severity of the illness."
Each day, Americans come in contact with a variety of potentially contaminated hotspots such as kitchens, bathrooms, offices, and even other individuals that may result in exposure to the many viruses that can cause the common cold such as rhinovirus and coronavirus. These viruses can be transmitted with a simple wipe of the eyes or nose.
"Antibiotic resistance is one of the world's most pressing public health problems. You can argue that we suffer from 'antibiotic abuse' in the United States," says Gerba. "Instead of taking antibiotics to treat the common cold, people would be better off using an over-the-counter product to manage their condition."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by a doctor to treat bacterial infections and are not effective against viral infections like the common cold, most sore throats, and the flu. In the early stages of sickness, it is often difficult to determine whether the symptoms are due to a bacterial or viral infection and many patients request a prescription for an antibiotic. Each time an antibiotic is used, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant germs may remain to grow and multiply. Decreasing inappropriate antibiotic use is the best way to control resistance.
The National Institutes of Health estimate more than 200 different viruses, including about 110 rhinoviruses, are known to cause common cold symptoms. Americans are expected to suffer from one billion colds this year.
The nose is the main portal of entry for cold viruses. The highest concentration of cold virus in nasal secretion occurs during the first three days of infection. This is when infected persons are most contagious.
Source: Matrixx Initiatives, Inc.