Shocking what the doctor prescribed to my wife

Something really nasty has been going around town this February.

People are dropping like flies with the flu.

Or, as some suggest, it could be a new strain of respiratory infection, possibly a mutant Covid spin-off.

Whatever it is, it arrived in the Collins household.

I am rarely bedridden – but I was wiped out for three days.

Lara got it even worse and has been out of action for eight days now – she even had to go to hospital one day (more about this in a moment).

The whole ordeal began with a cough and cold… then sore throat… then aching bones… then a fever… then an unholy symphony of ALL of them together.


We could barely peel ourselves from the mattress to go and get water.

It got to the point where I felt we were on a loop of Come Dine With Me, A Place in the Sun, The Repair Shop and whatever else was on TV in the daytime.

What we found really odd was that the chef Rick Stein seems to be on one TV channel or another at ALL TIMES of day and night.

Unless we were hallucinating him!?

Anyway, I was able to carry on with the Good Life Letter, propped up in bed with the laptop. It’s one of the benefits (and the curses) of working from home.

But what our experience with lurgy did afford me was a chance to bring out all my big guns when it came to cold and flu relief…

Lemons and manuka honey…. garlic and vinegar…. Olbas oil and hot steam… echinacea… you name it.

I was like a large balding witch in his coven brewing up potions and laughing maniacally!

(I was a bit delirious tbh!)

What I didn’t do, of course, was what millions in this country do and rush down to the chemist to grab an over-the-counter codeine cough linctus.

Why the rules need to change about cough linctus

These are now considered so addictive that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) says that it should become available by prescription only.

“Codeine linctus is an effective medicine, but as it is an opioid, its misuse and abuse can have major health consequences,” said Dr Alison Cave, chief safety officer of the MHRA.

There are increasing reports of codeine medicine abuse and dependence in the UK, thanks to its opioid effects.

A BBC report into this last summer showed that there were 277 serious and fatal adverse reactions to codeine medicines in 2021 and 243 in 2022.

Professor Claire Anderson, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said there were non-codeine products which people could use for a dry cough, which would probably go away on its own anyway.

I’d go one step further and sat that you should avoid even the non-codeine products.

Usually they are sugary, or artificially sweetened, and don’t really do the job.

As much as anything, I think, people take them for the placebo effect – that sense of being in control that you get when you can pop a pill to ‘cure’ a problem.

I understand that – and I like to take something for sore throats and coughs too.

But my preferred choice in these situations is this Propolis Pro Throat Syrup with Manuka Honey, which is available via The Good Life Letter shop, which both soothes and helps with the healing process.

Its natural ingredients include: Manuka Honey, Propolis, Elecampane Tincture (Inula helenium), Horehound Tincture (Marrubium Vulgare), Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Liquorice Tincture (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and Menthol.

So this is a far better option – and it tastes pretty good too. You can order some to try out here

Shocking what the doctor prescribed my wife last week…

One scary part of Lara’s illness was that her temperature wouldn’t stay down and she was struggling to breathe, so we had to go to A&E just to make sure it wasn’t going to escalate.

They ran a series of tests to check what kind of infection it was and discovered that it was definitely VIRAL.


But then the doctor prescribed her…. antibiotics!?

Lara asked repeatedly why she would need them when it wasn’t a bacterial infection.

The answer was – “Just in case.”

I find that mind-boggling, because I thought we were supposed to have moved past this scatter-gun approach to dishing out antibiotics for any old respiratory illness.

We are in a serious antibiotics-resistance crisis, and the last thing we need is an indiscriminate “just in case” approach so that GPS can simply cover their behinds, or placate angry patients who demand a ‘cure’.

It was fantastic that the NHS was there to make sure Laras’s fever didn’t lead to a dangerous situation…

But less fantastic to see the old ways still so firmly in place when it comes to prescription medicine.

Needless to say, she refused the antibiotics and the illness cleared up anyway – albeit slowly!

So the upshot is, try and stay safe in these final weeks of winter – keep supplementing with vitamin D and eating as many fruits and veg as you can.

And if you do get a sore throat, try our amazing Propolis Pro Throat Syrup with Manuka Honey