Jeff's Weekly Medicine Review

by Jeff
January 26th, 2004

Hello all! Doctor Jeff here again. Has it really been a week since I last wrote a medicine review? My how the time flies. The weather is getting colder and winter is upon us. That means we're right in the middle of the dreaded cold and flu season. It's no secret that the good Doctor has always had chronic nasal problems resulting in me having a stuffy nose year round. When cold season rears it's ugly head, it usually results in multiple sinus infections over a period of a couple months.

A few weeks ago my nose started to plug up worse than usual. The next day I had all the signs of a severe cold. I made a quick trip to the local Walmart to seek out something to help my symptoms. What I found was "Zicam". Zicam is a nasal spray that is supposed to help defeat the common cold three times as fast. All you have to do is shoot it up your nose twice a day and bam, no more cold. I bought the Zicam, used it, and here are my results.

Zicam Active Ingredients:

Notice the complete lack of LSD. Unlike the Nyquil gel caps I tested in last week's article, this should be a pleasant experience. I gave a quick run through of the directions. They suggested I not inhale while shooting the spray into my nose. I found this slightly odd since all other nasal sprays I've used (for allergies and such) require that you inhale so as to get the spray as far up your nose as possible. Before I could use the Zicam I was instructed to ready the bottle by giving it a few prepumps. I pumped once, nothing. I pumped twice, nothing. I pumped a third time, BOOM! Out shot something. Something strange and horrifying. Zicam is NOT a nasal spray. It's a nasal GEL. Imagine taking jello and squirting it through a tiny hole. That's Zicam.

After this discovery, I was slightly terrified to shoot this cannon of jello up my nose. Alas, for science, I must. Having already forgotten about the "no inhale" rule on the package, I closed one nostril, inserted the Zicam, pulled the trigger and sniffed the powerful jello gel into my nose. Below are pictures of the process.

As you can tell by the pictures, inhaling the gel is a BAD idea. It burns. Oh dear God, it burns. And then the dripping started. Zicam started pouring out of my nose like a flood of jello pouring out of someone's nose. This was a most unpleasant turn of events. I hadn't even gotten to the second nostril yet and I was already crying like a little girl for fear of reliving this experience over and over for the next few days.

After a few minutes the pain and burning disappeared and I went along with life as normal. Later that night I was cooking dinner. Something was wrong but I couldn't put my finger on it... I poured myself a glass of orange juice and took a sip. It tasted like water. It was then I realized I had no sense of smell. It was 100% gone. In a panic I opened a bottle of vinegar and shoved my nose into it. Nothing. Nothing. No smell at all. Zicam had KILLED my sense of smell!! I could only think of two possible choices of action. 1. proceed to cut up as many onions as possible before my sense of smell returned or 2. take a nap. I took a nap. I woke up a few hours later and still no sense of smell. This was distressing.

After a few days I finally regained my sense of smell. My cold lasted for another two weeks. This means one of two things... Either Zicam prevented my cold from lasting 6 weeks, or Zicam doesn't work at all. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I have a good idea. More trials will be needed to find the answer.

Zicam results: Inconclusive