The fall in antibiotic prescribing hasn't resulted in an increase in bacterial infections, as we reported last week, and it could be because patients are getting smarter than their doctors.
There's plenty you can do to clear an infection, and here are just a few options that don't come within a mile of an antibiotic.
At the first sign of a respiratory infection, take 1000 milligrams of olive leaf extract three times a day for three to seven days. It's effective in around half of all patients who try it, and some have also reported that it might also help fight yeast infections. If you feel nauseous, cut the dose to half.
Another option is a high dose of vitamin C. Take between 1,000 to 8,000 milligrams a day until it causes diarrhea, and then cut back to a more tolerable level.
The humble zinc lozenge can also help. Try five to eight a day, but make sure the lozenge has at least 10 to 20 milligrams of zinc. From homeopathy, try Oscillococcinum. It's effective against flu-like symptoms.
Finally, nasal rinses can help if you have a sinus infection. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of lukewarm water, and, using either a baby nose bulb or eyedropper, inhale some of the solution about an inch up each nostril, one at a time. After each nostril, gently blow your nose. You can repeat this twice a day until the nose is clear of infection.