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Best over-the-counter flu fighters revealed

February 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
We've all seen over-the-counter products that claim to prevent colds and flu and boost your immune system.

In the war against cold and flu, Dr. Lorraine Smith, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Osborne Head and Neck Institute in Los Angeles, believes the nose is where battles are won and lost.

"You basically just inhale the droplets and the viruses, and it goes straight into your nose," said Dr. Smith.

To prevent this, manufacturers are offering new weapons that target this point of entry.

Dr. Smith came across Nozin at a medical trade show more than a year ago, and she's been recommending it ever since. It's an over-the-counter nose antiseptic. Dr. Smith says to think of it as hand sanitizer for the your sniffer.

"That product is actually supposed to kill 99.9 percent of the viruses and bacteria that you get exposed to, and it lasts about eight hours," said Dr. Smith.

Nozin should be applied, using a swab, to the tip of your nose on the skin around the nostrils. It is only recommended for kids 12 and older, but Dr. Smith says Nozen can be used in young children with parental supervision.

Another botanical product that claims to help prevent colds and flu is the GermBullet inhaler.

"You take a sniff and it's supposed to protect the lining of your mucosa and protect you for short periods of time," said Dr. Smith.

For optimal results, Smith suggests rinsing your nose out nightly with saline water.

"If you wash your nose out regularly, then you tend not to get as much inflammation in your nose," said Dr. Smith.

Besides moisturizing and disinfecting your nasal passages, Dr. Smith says you have to use this in conjunction with good hygiene. Read the labels carefully because some products contain flower and plant oils which could be a problem if you have floral or pollen allergies.