Do zinc acetate lozenges cure the "flu"? Unfortunately no, but extremely high-dose oral zinc (not lozenges) might have benefit in very severe influenza. Zinc lozenges have little effect in treating influenza. However, good nutrition, including oral zinc dietary supplements, can help the immune system make recovery more efficient. Dosages of about 30 mg zinc 4 or 5 times a day for a week should be helpful. Vitamin B-6 and vitamin C might help also.

The flu, like a cold, is a respiratory infection but is caused by an entirely different group of viruses - namely the influenza A, B and C viruses. Perhaps the best way to prevent the flu is to get an annual flu shot before the flu season hits. However, there is much controversy about the safety of flu shots as may be seen in this Google search. Flu shots are targeted against the specific influenza strains expected each year, and may not be effective in another year. "Stomach flu" and "intestinal flu" are misnomers, because the influenza viruses infects only the nose, throat and chest, not other parts of the body even though influenza affects the entire body, prostrating its victims for days with fever and widespread muscle aches.

Because the behavior of flu varies so widely, it is usually diagnosed by physicians on the basis of several symptoms rather than one.

  • Influenza nearly always starts out with a fever of at least 100° F. Colds are rarely accompanied by fever, except those in children.
  • The onset of flu generally is abrupt and severe. About 75% of its victims can pinpoint the hour of the attack.
  • Flu's constitutional symptoms, such as general weakness, headache, chills and widespread muscle aches, usually overshadow its local cold symptoms, typically sore throat and nasal congestion. Colds, on the other hand, begin with specific local symptoms. Furthermore, the local cold-like symptoms in flu are less severe than those of a full-fledged cold.
  • About 90 percent of flu victims have a dry, hacking cough. Colds are less often accompanied by coughs, and their coughs are less painful.
  • Sixty percent of flu victims complain of sore eyes, often accompanied by a burning sensation, redness, watering and sensitivity to light.
  • In nearly half of flu cases, victims have a noticeable flushed face and hot, moist skin. Colds seldom cause either of these symptoms in adults

As the percentage figures indicate, none of these distinctions is absolute. The time of onset seems more indicative. Unspecific discomfort, fever, coughing, and hoarseness usually appears earlier in flu than in colds, while colds usually start with a sore throat, runny nose and sneezing. For more information about influenza review the Center for Disease Controls web page.