Try them when: You have mild soreness along with a stuffy nose. Pop in one every two to four hours as needed.
How they work: These coat the throat to soothe red, raw tissue. In addition, as the zinc ions dissolve, they migrate up the nose, where they bind to and may halt the virus causing a cold. A study conducted at Wayne State University, in Detroit, showed that patients who took zinc lozenges every two to three waking hours cut the duration of a cold by almost half. And since most sore throats come with a cold, start sucking on a lozenge at the first signs of pain. Look for drops that contain zinc gluconate, which is easier on the stomach than other forms, and take them with food to reduce the risk of queasiness. Try Cold-Eeze Sugar Free ($8 at drugstores).
Good to know: Because some supplements can interfere with other medications, check with your doctor first.