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A 1996 study found that zinc lozenges reduced the duration of the common cold from 7.6 days to 4.4 days. Other studies have been mixed but doctors do sometimes recommend the supplement.

However, there may be some risk to Zicam Cold Remedy products. In 2006, the manufacturer of the zinc spray paid $12 million to settle 340 lawsuits from consumers who claimed to have lost their sense of smell after using the product. And in June 2009, the FDA warned consumers to stop using three Zicam products due to the risk of a loss of the sense of smell.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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