1. I stopped taking any medicines for colds/respiratory infections. They always made me feel worse in some way. Your list is a great one… those are the things that make me feel the best!

  2. We avoid antibiotics at all costs, however if my children were in need I wouldn’t hesitate!

  3. I read recently that the biggest threat/contributor to antibiotic over-use is the incredible amounts of antibiotics given to livestock that we later ingest. (We = omnivores). Is over-prescription really a problem when the food we eat is apparently swamped with the stuff? And how do we change that?

  4. My husband swears by most of the things on your list (we haven’t tried a neti pot yet.) His biggest thing is to try not yo touch your eyes and nose with your hands when you’re sick because you can reinfect yourself. And if you do need to say to blow your nose, washin your hands right away afterwards. He learned that when he worked at a hospital.

  5. Amy, thanks for the link!

    Jane, the way to change that is by not buying the crappy meats at the store anymore, but finding a good farm nearby that has animals on pasture and doesn’t given them things like antibiotics, animal by-products, soy feed, hormones, etc. To find a farm, check eatwellguide.org or ask members at your local WAPF chapter. (I’d give you the link for those but it may throw this comment into the spam folder, that happens at my site a lot.)

  6. My 2 year old (youngest of 3) has never had antibiotics in spite of several ear infections, eye infections, colds, etc. We use a chiropractor (who treats kids free until age 6!!) and lots of fluids (aka nursing). My first child was overdosed with antibiotics until I got a clue and switched docs. She ended up with such a leaky gut she had to be gluten free (as well as several other foods) for a year and a half to heal.
    So thumbs down on antibiotics as a cure-all. However, when I returned from Mexico a few years ago and had gut wrenching diarreah for two weeks you can bet I was thankful for them!! All things in moderation….

  7. This is why we rarely see a doctor, to avoid unnecessary antibiotics. We also skip the antibacterial soaps and cleaners. Killing 99% of bacteria means the remaining 1% of superbugs have no competition for growing.

  8. Another idea instead of regular hankies or kleenex are wash cloths. This winter I invested in a few inexpensive stacks of 100% cotton wash clothes. We use them to blow noses once (or twice) depending on how sick we are and toss them in a basket on the washing machine. If we are actually sick sick versus a light nose run, I do wash them in hot water with baking soda and vinegar (similar to cloth diapers). The rest of the time I just wash them with our dish towels.

  9. Can you use a neti pot for allergies? Sometimes my sinuses are so congested I think if I used a net pot the water would never come out!!! Tis the season for allergies, and I’m thinking of picking one up. Any thoughts? Thanks!!!

  10. I don’t have any good ideas, and the idea of a neti pot sort of freaks me out. But I will say that I am totally with you on the antibiotics. We avoid them whenever possible, and we also avoid antibacterial soaps and cleaners.

    What I find alarming is that most antibiotics today are used on livestock. I fear that contributes to the creation of superbugs, and so our personal use or not may make little difference. This convinced me to change a lot of my food choices, I hope that by eating more drug-free animal products I am helping to alleviate the problem.

  11. It just blows me away that we are still trying to educate people about the overprescription and misuse of antibiotics and antibacterials. My dad was a microbiology student was I was growing up in the 70’s. He drummed into our heads that you don’t take antibiotics for a cold or flu and that if a doctor wants to prescribe them, she/he needs to take a culture FIRST to make sure what you have is actually bacterial.

    Okay, the 70’s… that was over 30 years ago, and things have only gotten worse. Manufacturers put Triclosan in everything nowadays.

    Thank you for this post, Amy. I hope the people who need to see it will.

  12. You don’t have to worry too much about “reinfecting” youself or “passing the infection back and forth” as the human body rarely becomes infected with the same virus twice. Once one is exposed to a virus, the bady produces antibodies to it and “remembers” that virus. When the body is exposed to that particular virus again, the body “remembers” it and immediately produces antibodies to that virus before infection can occur. This is same priciple behind vaccinations.

  13. Thank you!!!

    I have some family members that go to a doctor that gives antibiotics and steroids for everything! Call him and tell him you have a cold and you get antibiotics and steroids… flu- antibiotics and steroids.

    Drives me nuts! I have thought about asking my doctor if he has another CDC poster like he has on the wall talking about why antibiotics are only for bacterial infections. So glad my doctor is very careful with them. Even more so with me as I have a family history of allergic reactions to antibiotics.

  14. I’ve always heard it takes a whole week to get over a cold if you don’t take any medication – but only seven days if you do!

    Actually, though, a lot of the little things you recommend (less dairy, more fluids) really do help. The “power of small” does make a difference.


  15. Since childhood I have not taken antibiotics and try to treat all my diseases with herbs or herbal supplements. Your list appeared to be very effective. thanks.

  16. i grew up being prescribed antibiotics for EVERYTHING. even to treat my horrible acne… let’s not even go into what it did to my immune system.

    our family doctor’s practice has signs up in every exam room that explain why they will not prescribe antibiotics unless you actually need them. i’m so thankful for that!! my son has been on antibiotics twice in his 4 years (both times for sinus infections). by the time i was the same age, i had spent most of every winter on multiple doses of antibiotics. i’d like to think that in the long run, J will be healthier for it!

  17. Also zinc. When Erin was in the NICU at the first sign of a cold I’d take zinc + C powder (didn’t come as zinc alone) and by the next day all was well again. I didn’t get properly sick the whole time she was in hospital and this was the year with the bumper flu season AND I was traveling at least twice a day on public transport. I also swear by horseradish and garlic for things like head colds and sinus infections.

    We rarely take antibiotics, I prefer to use natural remedies to fight off minor illnesses.

  18. I hate using any drugs especially antibiotics as they ruin your immune system. We prefer using herbal stuff as teas and some candies to treat all the diseases we have in the family.

  19. i hate using antibiotics whenever i have colds. Its because it is hard for me to cure my colds if i take antibiotics. So i just drink plenty of orange juice.

  20. Thanks a lot, i should make my mother in law read this – poor woman tries to stuff her grown up kids with antibiotics everytime they get a runny nose….

  21. I swithed to healthy diet, no smoking or aclohol and meat. I don’t really need any meds since then and I forgot about migraines. You only need to find the strength to change your life.

  22. Good article and a good warning. Another bad thing about antibiotics is that the bacteria can become resistant to that drug if you take it in the wrong way. I prefer hot tea, honey, lemon and oragnges whenever I catch cold and it works.

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