Antibiotics and you

This week, Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, has again brought our attention to the overuse of antibiotics, and that this over-use is and will cause increasing problems for us. Many people go to their GP at the slightest sign of ill-health, such as a runny nose, ‘flu like symptoms and demand that their GP gives them an anti-biotic to cure them. Unfortunately, in lots of cases the GP gives in, in the name of a quieter life! Antibiotics do not cure colds, ‘flu and lots of other minor illnesses which are caused by a virus. These types of viral illnesses can be dealt with, in nearly all cases, by the person affected taking extra care of themselves. So you go to bed, take paracetamol for aches and pains caused by your body dealing with the virus, take lots of fluids and generally rest while your body’s own immune system goes to war against the virus.

As you will know from information on our website, Mick and I used to be organic farmers in West Wales, and one of the main tenets of organic farming is a very much reduced use of antibiotics in animal health. Of course, antibiotics are allowed to be used, but this is done in consultation with your vet and your organic certifying body, in our case, the Soil Association. We used to inspect the livestock (sheep and beef cattle) in their grazing fields at least once day, and this is to spot problems at an early stage. One morning we found one of our favourite ewes, Brownie, in some distress owing to a wound on her leg. We brought Brownie into the yard and housed her in the shed, in a specially constructed pen, on deep straw and with some sweet hay for her to eat and water to drink. Her lambs were also brought in with her. She was seen by our vet and permission was obtained from the Soil Association to give her an anti-biotic to help heal the wound and deal with the infection in the wound. However, we chose to strap a special herbal poultice on the wound and generally gave her lots of TLC. Brownie recovered in a few days and was not given the anti-biotic because with good care, rest and good food she dealt with the problem herself.

So look after yourself, get enough sleep, eat fresh, unprocessed food and  help your body to heal itself and look after you.

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