Is zinc an effective treatment for the common cold?

Maybe but ... When you take zinc tablets/syrup for a cold, you may be sick for a shorter period of time and your cold symptoms may not be so severe. Sounds good, right? Only problem - side effects. Some folks hate the taste. Other folks get sick stomachs from it. Don't use the zinc nasal spray, which can cause permanent loss of smell. ::passes you the chicken soup and kleenex::.
Uncertain. There is significant variability in the results from research on the impact of zinc on the common cold. Some studies showed no effect and others showed benefit if taken the first day of symptom onset. Do not take zinc intranasally due to the potential for loss of sense of smell.