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Cold Remedy Wiped Out Sense of Smell

Cold Remedy Wiped Out Sense of Smell

Q. I just read a question about Zicam Cold Remedy. Here is another instance of loss of sense of smell from this zinc nasal gel.

My sister took it recently and immediately lost her sense of smell. Her doctors say she will be lucky to get 30 percent back. After 5 weeks, she has barely any sense of smell. She is a medical practitioner and knew how to follow the directions explicitly.

A. Consumer Reports (Jan. 2007) notes that “studies with animals and case reports suggest that nasal zinc may cause loss of smell, possibly permanent. Last year we [CR] unearthed more than 200 complaints to the Food and Drug Administration about an impaired sense of smell, taste, or both after using zinc nasal products.”

People who want to take zinc to fight cold symptoms might want to stick with zinc pills or lozenges so that nasal passages are not directly exposed.


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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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