“Eyes and ears and mouth and nose”

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Winter colds and flu are still in full swing around here, so a couple blog posts I read this week caught my eye. The first is a discussion of zinc cold remedies. I’ve never used these or recommended them to patients. They probably are not helpful and may actually be harmful, potentially causing anosmia (lack of smell). From the blog post,

Of more significance is the safety profile for intranasal zinc gluconate, the key ingredient in nasal sprays/gels, such as Zicam. One study coined the term “zinc-induced anosmia syndrome,” characterized by burning and anosmia. It described a series of patients, all of whom reported sniffing deeply with gel application, followed by anosmia within hours.

The second post was about ear candling meant to remove wax.  Why is this something you can have done at a medieval festival? That’s where I’ve seen it before. The potential injury from ear candling can come from hot wax burning ears or punctured ear drums from inserting the cones. The saying “Don’t stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow” probably holds true here.

Hoping that your winter colds pass quickly with rest, fluids and chicken soup!

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