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National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

NCCAM Clinical Digest

The Flu, the Common Cold, and Complementary Health Practices

February 2012
Woman sneezing

Each year, approximately 5 to 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu. Although most recover without incident, flu-related complications result in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and between 3,000 and 49,000 deaths each year. Colds generally do not cause serious complications, but they are among the leading reasons for visiting a doctor and for missing school or work.

To prevent or treat these illnesses, some people turn to complementary health practices such as herbs or vitamins and minerals. This issue provides information on “what the science says” about some of these practices for the flu and for the common cold, including  zinc, vitamin C, echinacea, and probiotics.

Read more about what the science says

Jump to: Clinical Guidelines | Scientific Literature | Research Spotlights | Info for Patients

Scientific Literature

NCCAM Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH, DHHS. NCCAM Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on CAM, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCAM-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, training CAM researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at nccam.nih.gov. NCCAM is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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Content is in the public domain and may be reprinted, except if marked as copyrighted (©). Please credit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as the source. All copyrighted material is the property of its respective owners and may not be reprinted without their permission.

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