Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is there a vitamin I should take if I feel like I'm starting to get sick?"
Is there any vitamin I should take if I feel like I'm getting sick? I just want something that would make my cold easier to handle. Is there anything else I could take other than vitamins that would do the same thing?
You ask an excellent question, since any steps you can take to make a cold less troublesome is a good thing! As you have probably seen, the 'cold and flu' aisle at your local drugstore will have several formulations of supplements that are supposed to help with the common cold. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of solid evidence that these actually work. There is some evidence that vitamin C and zinc may help with cold and flu symptoms, but there is not really a 'magic bullet' vitamin that will stop a cold in it's tracks. However, as you suggest, there are steps you can take to help your body recover from illness more quickly and to avoid getting sick in the first place. Good sleep is very important, as is good nutrition and you can emphasize both of these things in your day-to-day life even when you're not ill. Regular physical activity is also important to help the immune system be at its best to help you avoid getting sick. If you have any questions about healthy lifestyle tips or if you do feel that you are coming down with something, you should always see your primary care physician to discuss. He or she can make sure that you don't have symptoms of a serious medical illness and can prescribe medications for symptomatic control as needed (to help with nasal congestion or cough, for example).
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