You know how you get those emails telling you that if you don’t throw away all your toilet paper, you will get a rash that will never leave you? Then it turns out it is a scam from the Net and has taken off in that viral way that the Net nurtures.
I got the following such email from my sister. She was forwarding it from someone who had forwarded it to her. I googled it and it does appear that a number of consumers have reported the symptoms described.
I want my friends and loved ones to know what has happened to me in hopes that it will never happen to
you or anybody you care about. About 10 days ago, I felt a cold coming on; so before I went to bed I
used Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel. It’s supposed to help you “get over your cold faster.” Immediately
after I sprayed it into each nostril I felt the most horrific burning sensation imaginable. It
literally felt like I had sprayed pepper spray directly into my brain. It burned all the way to the
top of my skull. My nasal passages swelled, my eyes watered – the burning lasted all night long into
the next day.
After about a day, I realized I couldn’t taste anything and I thought, “Wow – I must really have a bad
cold..” Then I noticed that I couldn’t smell coffee brewing, couldn’t smell my perfume when I put it
on, couldn’t smell the popcorn I burned, couldn’t smell my favorite candle. I panicked and starting
smelling everything that I could find that had really strong odors – ammonia, finger nail polish
remover, bleach, etc. I couldn’t smell ANYTHING! I started tasting everything that had really strong
tastes such as HOT salsa, raw red onions, Doritos, coffee. I couldn’t taste ANYTHING!
I told my mother about this and she said, “Oh, I’ve heard Zicam can affect your Olfactory nerve.” I
went online, typed in “Zicam side effects” and bam – up popped all sorts of web sites with people
reporting the same thing I experienced. It seems that this past June, Zicam pulled the swabs for
adults and children off the shelf but not the nasal gel.
I went to my ENT and he said the Zicam had basically “FRIED” my Olfactory nerve and the results are
most likely permanent. He put me on a strong dose of a steroid called Prednisone in hopes of
recovering ANY bit of the nerve damage but he told me to “take this and pray.” He said he had read
about the side effects of Zicam and couldn’t believe it is still on the shelf. It isn’t FDA approved.
I am taking the Prednisone and praying but nothing is happening.. I LITERALLY CANNOT SMELL OR TASTE
ANYTHING! I can tell if foods are hot or cold, I can tell the consistency and I can faintly detect if
it is salty but that is it.
At first I thought, “How awful!” But then I started to think that if you can’t taste or smell, then you could eat salads and salmon all the time and never know that it’s not ice cream and chocolate. I immediately called my sister.
“Look, if this Zicam thing is true, this could be the largest breakthrough in weight loss ever! Do you know how much weight we would lose if we couldn’t tell the difference between a radish and an M&M? Yikes, this is fabulous! I can’t believe no one has thought about this! Quick, we need to buy the stock before they figure it out! It will be the biggest thing since the birth control pill. What do you think?”
“I think you are a sick person, and this just confirms it along with all your other hair-brained thoughts. I love food. Food taste is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and I would never give it up permanently. What is wrong with you? I am hanging up now.” And, she did. I hate when she does that.
I called her back.
“Look, are you telling me that if you could be thin for the rest of your life by merely spraying Zicam up your nose until it burned, you wouldn’t do it?”
She hung up on me again without a reply. I am sure this is why my family has trouble communicating, but let’s set that aside for now.