MedWatch-What to do when a cold is coming on

MedWatch-What to do when a cold is coming on

(CNN) -According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult will catch two-to-three colds this year, but there is something you can do when you feel one coming on.

Cleveland Clinic wellness expert Dr. Melissa Young says when you feel a cold coming on, vitamin C and zinc are a good place to start.

"There have been some very clear studies on the benefit of decreasing your severity of symptoms and shortening perhaps cold symptoms with vitamin C, as well as zinc," Dr. Young said.

Dr. Young says a typical dose of vitamin C is 1,000 milligrams. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli. Zinc can be taken as a capsule or a lozenge up to four times daily for one or two days only; Dr. Young says it's not recommended for extended periods.

She also recommends elderberry, an herb that can be found as a syrup, capsule or lozenge. Research suggests it can be helpful in fighting off colds if taken at the first sign of symptoms.

Dr. Young says echinacea is another natural remedy that's well-known and readily available with antiviral and bacterial properties.

"It's one of those that actually seems to support the immune cells that fight off infection and it is one that you want to start as soon as you develop symptoms," Dr. Young said.

Dr. Young suggests taking echinacea four times daily until symptoms subside. But she warns that people with severe ragweed allergy may want to avoid this herb.

In other health news, March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and the Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma in Lawton, Duncan and Altus are offering free colon cancer screening kits through the end of the month. Visit any of the three locations to pick yours up or inquire about all of your screening options.

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