Nutrient Cures

Does Zicam Cold Remedy Work?

Woman sick on the couch with tea.

Does Zicam Cold Remedy Work?

You may wonder if Zicam actually works or if it is just another product whose advertising can be misleading. Zicam claims to shorten the common cold if taken when symptoms first appear. I can say from decades of personal experience that this claim is absolutely true and Zicam actually works even better than the advertising claims. Zicam works most every time I take it, but the effectiveness depends on how early it is taken and how constantly you take it. Due to discrepancies in dosage due to how well people follow the directions, it may work differently. If someone waits to take it until they are very sick, it will not be as effective. For some colds I only have to take it once and I am good. You are supposed to take it every 4 hours at the start of a cold. Sometimes it is temping to stop taking it when we feel better. Many times I have stopped taking it too soon only to regret it later. Basically if I take it as directed it almost always works. If you wonder does Zicam cold remedy work, then I can tell you, for me, the answer is 100% yes!

How to take Zicam

It is important to take Zicam as directed. To take Zicam effectively make sure you do the following:

  1. Take Zicam at the first sign of symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose or sneezing.
  2. Continue to take 1 lozenge (or packet or whichever form you prefer) every 4 hours until you no longer feel any symptoms.
  3. Do not have any citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime etc) within 30 minutes before or after you have Zicam.
  4. Do not have any water or food for 15 minutes after you have Zicam (this is so it has time to soak in to your mouth).
  5. Do not chew it up, let it dissolve in your mouth.

I often forget to take it every 4 hours and sometimes only take it once or twice per day. If you take it as directed it is more likely to work well.

Which Variety Should You Take? So Many Flavors to Choose From.

There are Rapidmelt lozenges in cherry, orange, lemon lime and orange cream flavors as well as a spray in mint and honey lemon flavors, new fruit flavored gummies that look good as well as crystals in berry lemonade flavor. It is all a matter of preference. I like the orange cream flavored lozenges the best but I have not tried the gummies yet and I suspect they are good and also offer a variety of flavors. This deal on a 2 pack from Amazon looks like a great value.

Zicam Cold Remedy Ingredients and How It Works

Zicam active ingredients are Zinc gluconate in all forms of Zicam and also Zinc acetate in Zicam Maximum Strength. The Berry Lemonade flavored packets also have Elderberry added which is a great immunity booster on it’s own. Note: though it says “lemonade” you do not mix this with water. Zinc is a natural anti-inflammatory and it also harms the cold virus and prevents it from replicating. The cold virus lives in the sinuses and throat so by taking Zicam in a lozenge or other form that dissolves in the mouth, the zinc is absorbed in the location where it is needed to work rather than being swallowed in a pill or other form that goes straight to the stomach. This is also why you have to wait for it to dissolve and should not wash it down with water or food.

Can Kids take Zicam?

Zicam is labeled for kids 12 years old and up. For younger kids there is Zicam Kids made just for them. It uses the same active ingredients as regular Zicam. It comes in a grape flavored soft chew.

Is Zicam homeopathic?

Zicam is not a homeopathic treatment but it is labeled as such since no accurate label options are available in the U.S.  It is not a homeopathic based on the definition of homeopathy. Zicam is labeled homeopathic due to the fact there are not appropriate labeling options for natural supplements in the U.S. It is not a pharmaceutical product but created from zinc which is a naturally occurring element. In the U.S. naturally occurring minerals like Zinc are not labeled as treatments for particular conditions so “Homeopathic” is the closest option available. So even if you are not comfortable with homeopathic treatments, fear not. Nothing in Zicam is truly homeopathic.

How Does It Compare to Other Natural Cold Supplements?

There are some supplements that have a reputation for being used for treating and preventing the common cold. Some of these are Vitamin C and Echinacea. Personally, echinacea is something I avoid simply because it can upset my stomach and the straight lozenges taste terrible. There are many supplements that include echinacea now that taste better. Echinacea is healthy in general but it has not been shown to help with fighting a cold. If you like it, go ahead and take it but I don’t recommend it for colds.

Vitamin C is another very commonly used cold fighter. The problem is that it doesn’t do a whole lot for a cold.  Vitamin C has many good benefits and I take it myself every day. However, I don’t expect it to save me from a cold.

For me, Zicam is the only supplement that actually shortens and weakens a cold.

Side Effects of Zicam Rapidmelts

There are only mild possible side effects from Zicam and most of the time I have experienced no side effects whatsoever. Upset stomach is the most common possible side effect but this can be prevented by eating some food before taking Zicam. Do not eat for 15 minutes after taking Zicam but you can eat right before taking it.

There are a lot of stories about more serious side effects from the old, nasal swab form of Zicam. This form was accused of causing loss of smell. If you take the Rapidmelts, lozenges, packets and other forms taken by mouth, this is not a potential side effect. I never use the nasal swab form anymore but even when I did use them as a kid, I never experienced this side effect.

Long term use of zinc in high doses can prevent other minerals from being absorbed by the body. As with anything moderation is smart. I would not take Zicam all day, every day but there should be no problem taking it when we have a cold.

Potential Drug Interactions

Zinc can interfere with certain prescription medications and antibiotics so check with your doctor or pharmacist when taking Zicam if you are on prescription drugs.

Does Zicam Work for The Flu?

No, Zicam is made to work for the common cold, not the flu. For immunity boosters to help with the flu, check out my posts here: Best Flu Prevention and Top Immune Boosting Supplements.

Give it Try and See How Fast You Can Feel Better!

Zicam is like a miracle to me. It is amazingly effective. I highly recommend you give it a try. I bet you will be surprised at how well it works. Please leave me any questions or thoughts in a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Jessica

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44 Comments

  1. Salim

    Zicam, thanks for providing a wonderful and well detailed review and information on it. But the side effects is one think I’ll like to ask you about. The stomach upset as a side effect, what is the impact of this aching over the years. Or is it just a temporary pain?

    you did a great work on providing this rare information. Thanks and have a nice day

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Salim,

      As long as I have some food before I take Zicam I do not have any problem. I do not get an upset stomach as long as I have food first. You should not have any problem as long as you do this.

      Thank you for your question and comment,

      Jessica

      Reply
  2. Bryan

    Interesting review on Zicam, I have not previously heard of it. Is there any clinical research on this available, I’m just wondering if it is just a placebo effect or if it truly brings rapid relief when used?

    What age group is it safe for, are children able to use it – be quite handy if you could list the instructions for us.

    I’m not quite clear if Zicam simply reduces the effects, so you feel better, much like Paracetamol, or it actually enables you to recover quicker?

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello,

      Regular Zicam is for kids 12 and up. There is also a Zicam Kid’s formula. Both have the same zinc ingredients but the kid’s version probably has a lower dose.

      Zicam does actually work because the active ingredient is zinc which has been shown to prevent viruses from replicating (reproducing) so therefore it stops the infection and it can’t get worse. I will try to find some research for you. I can tell you it actually works. None of the other products I have tried seem to do anything including Airborne, Vitamin C, Echinacea and others. This really does work. The effect is not from making you feel better like a pain reliever but actually killing off the infection.

      Thanks for your questions,

      Jessica

      Reply
  3. Marita

    Hi Jessica,

    This is interesting. I haven’t tried it,  but will one of these days.

    Is this also okey for kids or is there an age recommendation? 

    If there are side effects, so how many days are you supposed to take it then stop?

    How many days will the colds be shortened when you take Zicam?

    Thanks for this valuable information.

    Marita 

    Reply
    1. admin

      It is directed for kids 12 and up but there is a Zicam Kids variety available as well. Because it is just zinc which is a naturally occurring mineral that we all need in our diet anyway, it is pretty safe. There is no limit on how long you can take it but the directions say until your symptoms go away. Generally a cold does not last too long anyway (if you are really sick for weeks it has moved into a bacterial infection such as pneumonia or bronchitis) so you would only be taking Zicam for a few days or maybe a week at the longest. If I just take it once per day I might take it for a week.

      If you take it right away you may be able to keep from getting really sick so the time that the cold is shortened is however long your cold would have lasted if you didn’t treat it. It is impossible to say how much it will be shortened because there are many different strains of cold viruses and different people have different levels of immunity. The same cold virus could make one person sick for 2 days and another could be sick for a week and end up with pneumonia that lasts for months.

      That is why I take Zicam. Why take the chance?

      Thanks for your questions,

      Jessica

      Reply
  4. Seun Afotanju

    Thanks for sharing this post I was prescribed this Zicam some while ago and was told  works effectively I have not made use of it because I was not sure if it could cure my cold at that point in time, but I’m convinced to try it as I am always prone to cold and it affects me real bad. Thanks for explaining how to take Zicam, you are far too kind.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Seun, I am glad you will try Zicam now! It will save you a lot of suffering in the future if you have it on hand and take it when you first feel sick.

      I hope you stay healthy. Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  5. enrique vanegas

    Thank you Jessica for sharing ¨DOES ZICAM COLD REMEDY WORK? ¨. A friend of mine who took Zicam nasal Gel didn´t have a good experience. He told me that after applying Zicam nasal Gel in both nostrils before bed, didn´t feel any particular sensation, but within an hour a numbing pain set in. He thought it was the effect of the cold, so he repeated a shot in both nostrils the following morning. He noticed that after 2ndapplication, he couldn´t smell or taste anything. I myself didn´t have a good experience with Zicam.I had taken it, as recommended, for four days. I started with a small normal cold with a slight running nose and normal blah feeling of feeling sick. Saw this product on TV and hoped that it could help. I got sicker than I started with and a nasty cough developed along with my nose running a mile a minute. It literally unstuffed my nose for less than an hour, but the reminder of the time I sat and suffered because I couldn´t even drink orange juice after taking one Zicam tablet. I feel these products are made to only subside the symptoms, until your own body kills off the virus.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Enrique,

      Thank you for your comment. I do not recommend the nasal gel. This review is about the lozenges and other products such as spray that go in your mouth. Those work well and do not have the problems associated with the nasal gel.

      Jessica  

      Reply
  6. jessie palaypay

    I was really hoping this would work for a flu since I had been vulnerable to catching it during the last couple of flu seasons. So I am really bummed after reading this.

    What exactly are the consequences of eating or drinking something after taking zicam? Does it hurt the stomach or does it just make the medicine less effective?

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hi Jessie,

      It does not hurt anything to eat or drink with Zicam. it is not dangerous in any way, but it will prevent it from being effective so you are just wasting your time and money if you take it with food or drink. It needs to soak into your mouth and throat so it can stop the viruses located there early in a cold. If you eat or drink right away, you wash it out of your mouth.

      If you want a way to prevent or treat the flu you can check our my post here: https://nutrientcures.com/best

      Reply
  7. Darren

    I found this post very useful. 

    As I began to read I thought that Zinc would be involved. I know zinc is good for our immune system but I find it useful to now know  that there is a lozenge that can apply it directly to your throat to seat working straight away.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Darren,

      That is why I love Zicam. It is just zinc so it is very safe and natural and zinc is proven to be effective. The form of zinc in Zicam allows it to go straight to the source rather than taking a pill that goes to the stomach instead.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  8. Louis

    Zicam, I’ve never heard of it before but would sure try it out someday…hopefully not soon as no one likes a cold. I have a few questions though, how many days should i wait before I see I doctor while I’m using the zicam? When I use zicam how long does it take before I catch a cold again? Can I use it as a preventative measure?

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Louis,

      There is no need to see a doctor for a common cold unless you are in very poor health or have other complications. Colds cannot last very long. If you are sick for weeks it has likely turned into a bacterial infection such as bronchitis or pneumonia and then you would need to see a doctor who would likely prescribe antibiotics. 

      I do not know how soon after taking Zicam you could catch a cold again but I do not think it will help prevent future colds. It it not a preventative because it works by stopping a virus that is already in your system. However, I have often taken it before I feel symptoms if I have been around someone who is very sick just to make sure because I could have been infected and just not have symptoms yet. So, it is a preventative in a sense if you are taking it before you feel sick but it will only do you any good if you have already been infected. 

      Thanks for your questions,

      Jessica

      Reply
  9. charles39

    Thenks for sharing this important article about zicam the main reason why people don’t get well is never do as directed by their physicians or doctor so they always complain that medicine they have been given is not working.zicam is remedy to be taken before not after you get very sick and that is why this blog is important to let people know that and always be keeping one at home for cold and flu can be felt at anytime.once feel the symptoms please take zicam you  will be just fine.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Yes Charles. Many people who say it doesn’t work do not take it correctly. That makes all the difference. Sometimes it is unavoidable. If you start to get sick and don’t have any Zicam to take then you might not take it soon enough. That is why I always have some stored at home. Sometimes I have been bad about taking it consistently enough myself and then I get sick. I have learned from years of experience that it works well if you just follow the directions. 

      Reply
  10. Phil Lancaster

    Until you catch one, people forget just how bad the so-called “common cold” is.

    From the headache to the blocked up nose to the racking cough and the sore throat, the symptoms are just awful.

    So I’m really glad that you’ve created this post about Zicam.

    If it’s 100% effective for you, then I imagine it would be for just about anybody. The trick is, as you say, to catch your cold early and follow the directions.

    Speaking of which, your clear directions and the description of just how Zicam works were really helpful.

    And I’m more than happy that it’s not a pharmaceutical product though not, as you say, homeopathic.

    I’ll also take your advice about using the lozenges, rather than the older form of nasal spray.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Phil,

      I would not ever be without it and it has saved me much down time from being sick. I cannot say it works 100% of the time since sometimes we just don’t remember to be consistent enough and then we pay for it. There are also many variables in sickness such as the strain of virus, the strength of the individual’s immune system etc., but hey, anything that gives us a great advantage over these viruses is a winner for me!

      Thanks for your thoughts here!

      Jessica

      Reply
  11. azaliha

    Thank you for your detail review. This is the right way to do review because you include the real facts especially about taking supplements by kids. And I am happy when there are option available for kids. Are the ingredients same for the kids beside adding flavour? How about the dosage?

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello,

      The ingredients are the same and I assume the amount of the active ingredient is lower in the Zicam Kids variety. The dosage is the same, 1 every 3 hours. The difference is the kid’s variety says not to take more than 4 doses in 24 hours. The adult varieties don’t have this warning. 

      Thanks for stopping by and for your questions,

      Jessica

      Reply
  12. zuchii

    Due to the prevailing weather conditions, a lot of people are having cold in one form or the other and struggling to get by it every day. Finding the perfect remedy to this problem would be well appreciated. Personally, I am always in need something to stop my frequent running nose, therefore, I will be trying out Zicam.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello,

      I always recommend having Zicam on hand. I hope you can get some and it works as well for you as it does for me. 

      Thank you for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  13. Karin Nauber

    I have never used Zicam before. I knew it was for colds, but I guess it never occurred to me to take it for a cold (or anything). I just got one, so I will be going out tomorrow to get me some and see how it works before this cold turns into a sinus infection! Thanks for talking about this and how it has worked for you. I do have a question, do you know if it would interact with diabetes medications? I am on insulin and would prefer to not cause problems. 🙂

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Karin,

      A zinc deficiency can actually cause diabetes since zinc is required for insulin production. Therefore, zinc (the active ingredient in Zicam) should be good for you. Zicam is not supposed to interfere with diabetes medication. It can interfere with antibiotics, hormone replacement therapy and corticosteriods as well as ACE inhibitors. 

      I hope it works for you and you cold is not too far along for it to work. That is the key with Zicam, you have to take it early on. 

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
      1. Karin

        Thanks for your reply. I just got some and I am hoping it helps!

        Reply
        1. Jessica (Post author)

          Good to hear Karin. If it is too late to catch this cold you will have some on hand for the next time you get any sniffles!

          Reply
  14. Shellykh

    I can justify that Zicam does work. My roomate and I are zicam users for our cold and nasal congestions. They really do work but I don’t rely on it for its zinc, but it is a nice bonus. We used the spray version seem to be effectly quickly but not certain if it is as effective as the pills or the gummies. Thanks for posting this article.

    Reply
    1. admin

      I am glad Zicam works for you as well. You can use the spray or lozenges as well as other forms. It is just a matter of preference. 

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  15. Favour

    Zicam Cold Remedy isn’t really just a cold drug. It’s increasingly similar to Airborne items or even Emergencies since it’s intended to be utilize right at the time you feel a cold coming. It’s meant to shorten the length of your cold, and stop it before it even starts. All things considered, It does a great job at preventing colds from happening even before it begins. I love it

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Favour,

      Yes, there is really no downside to taking Zicam and everything to gain! Why not take a natural mineral supplement that our bodies need anyway and that can help keep us healthy?

      Thanks for your thoughts here,

      Jessica

      Reply
  16. Dave Sweney

    I have been having colds annually for many years, normally at the start of the Fall months when the weather changes for the worse. Even when the weather does not switch up markedly, I seem to be prone to colds around this time. My remedies over the years have been natural, more fruits having high levels of vitamin C and chicken soup (from my grandmother, who insisted on hot soup, rest, and no stress).

    There are times when I do not have the time for the natural cures to work their magic, so I have been looking for something to try that will help immediately and even better, if caught early, stop the cold from progressing whatsoever. That would be ideal. If it tastes good, so much the better (from what you say, Zicom does come in flavors I will like).

    This search is how I came across your website and this post actually. The Google search engine is working it’s magic again today for me! I will try this Zicam Cold medicine as you have answered the question of does the Zicam work…It seems to have for years in your experience, and that is enough to give it a try.

    Thanks for the advice and tips (staying away from the nasal variety, for instance) so I know how to use this to maximize its effectiveness (i.e. taking it at the onset of a cold). I will drop you some feedback after I have given the Zicam Cold Medicine a whirl! 

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hi Dave, 

      I agree. There seems to be some sort of magic around homemade chicken soup when you are sick and orange juice sure tastes good too! I need an extra boost when I am sick and running around working however. 

      I love that there are a variety of flavors to choose from. I am not fond of the cherry flavor they have but I suppose some people will. I prefer the lemon lime and orange cream flavors myself and I am anxious to see if the gummies (they call them fruit drops) are tasty. 

      Thanks for your thoughts here and for letting me know what you think of Zicam. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me.

      Jessica

      Reply
  17. Jerimy

    Thank you for this great review. I’ve always wondered if Zicam worked or not. I heard about the nasal swab issues before and since then have been a bit of a skeptic. This article puts me at ease thanks to how thorough you were. I will add this to my medicine cabinet to have on hand in case a bug strikes. You’ve answered all of my questions about the product and eased my fears.

    Thanks again.

    – J

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Jerimy,

      I am so glad this helped you and answered your questions! I highly recommend it and think it is a very safe and effective product to have on hand.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  18. Telma

    I wrote a comment on this article before I meet Zicam. Now that I know the product I am very happy to writing again and let you know about my experience.

    I can tell that the first time I read your article I was a little skeptical, but I love the amount of information you gave to all of us and I decide to try Zican on a cold situation on my family. Zican works like a charm, like magic, like one, two, tree. You were right when you say that “Zicam actually works even better than the advertising claims”. The body pay went away in a couple of days, the fever got control in minutes, the headache disappears fast, was amazing.

    I administrate Zican every 6 hours with some tea and no other medicine.

    Thank you so much, for a great tip that could make a huge difference in my family’s life.

    Cheers to your success,

    Telma

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Telma,

      I am SO HAPPY to hear your success story with Zicam! Yay. I am so glad I could share information about this great product and help you stay healthy. I hope you are able to continue using Zicam every time you or your family start to feel sick and it keeps you healthy from here on out. Health is a wonderful thing and it should be valued above all else.

      Thank you so much for your great story here and for letting me know how well it worked for you.

      Jessica

      Reply
  19. Shaka Don Darcy

    Hi Jessica

    I have a question related to the flavors, it is great t have flavors for different kind of person but isn’t that somehow dangerous as most of the flavors are chemicals?Except that this is a very good article and a perfect all-to-know-about post thank you very much for this

    Reply
    1. admin

      That is an interesting question. I don’t know the details of the “natural and artificial” flavors they use in Zicam. That might be a concern for some people but as long as you are only taking this tiny lozenge for a few days it is not like flavorings in food that you get in much, much larger quantities. 

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply
  20. Dapoach

    What a wonderful post! incisive, educative and informative. I love the fact that Zicam not only have for adults they also have the one for the kids below 12 years. I will definitely order mine because i always feel these cold symptoms especially runny nose. I am also always tempted to stop taking medications once i start feeling better. I have learned through your advice to complete taking it as directed. Thanks so much for this post. I hope to get more posts from you in these areas.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Dapoach,

      Yes, it is very handy since kids and adults can take it and you just have to let it dissolve in your mouth. It is easy to stop taking it too soon but if you keep it up you will stay healthy and it will be worth it.

      Stay healthy,

      Jessica

      Reply
  21. Sujandar Mahesan

    First of all I had no idea about ZICAM COLD REMEDY and this article explained me everything about this remedy. This looks like a great initiative and a alternative for other medicines available in the market. I think I will give this a try and see how it works with me. Thank you for sharing this article.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hello Sujandar,

      It really works for me and I hope you will give it a try and have the same great results. Thanks for stopping by,

      Jessica

      Reply

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