Preparing for a post-antibiotic era?(54 Posts)
I was reading the "fears of post-antibiotic era" thread and there was a lot of interesting advice interspersed among the fearful posts. Talking about the scrupulous approach to hygiene and disease-prevention skills our ancestors and public health systems had had in the era before antibiotics (which have been available for less than 100 years and may realistically be in effective in the next couple of decades).
Is this something anyone is consciously preparing for- either through direct action by limiting use of antibiotics, eating only organic meat, lobbying for regulation or more on the preparation side of building up important skills that have collectively fallen out of use?
Would you mind linking the thread, please?
Not really preparing, I don't think there's an awful lot you can actively do; we practise good hygiene rules, don't take unnecessary risks, know how to wash hands correctly, and try to keep as healthy as possible.
Eating organic meat won't really benefit directly as any ABs used must be out of the animals system prior to slaughter. Banning their use in the food chain would be more effective, but we import meat, even if it is labelled 'British' that can mean as little as it was packaged here, and we don't have an absolute knowledge of what has been used in the rearing of that meat. Going vegetarian would be the only real certainty.
Well, I am quite fussy about cleaning cuts and grazes ASAP and covering them if appropriate. I think some people roll their eyes and see it as fussing, but I reckon it's a good habit for kids to get into. In a post-antibiotic era we just won't be able to be as casual as we can get away with being now.
This has long been one of my concerns. (Here's a useful link for you Stratter5.)
I don't know if there's anything we can any longer do about it as individuals so this may be one to contribute to wider action. I would be interested to hear the view of others on the matter because I don't think it's currently being taken as seriously as it should be.
Sorry, Stratter5, I was being lazy. There are several recent threads on the topic - which is something, I suppose. Here's one of them but this may still be one for Advanced Search.
Stratters, the "fear of post AB era" thread is linked in the right hand column under "in the news on MN", or direct clicky here
I can't get my head round the lack of research going on... ABs underpin nearly all of modern medicine, without them the whole health system and medical industry would collapse.
Things to do would be to learn about:
scrupulous hygiene... handwashing, housekeeping, clothes washing etc to kill germs and control their spread. With a reduced health support structure we may need to go back to old school methods like boil washes.
natural antibiotics and antivirals... honey, garlic, echinacea, elderberries etc. often a bacterial infection comes on the tails of a virus, so keeping viruses at bay in the winter with hedgerow tinctures is a good idea.
Good nutrition and healthy living...
Avoid a damp house, ventilation during the morning and it keeping warm the rest of the time. Dry clothes outdoors, ventilate bathrooms, use bleach/antimould spray.
Good sleep and rest.
Clean/purified water. Keep toilets well away from fresh water sources. We might not have anti-b's in future, but at least we have the power of knowledge about hygiene and epidemiology... John Snow's study of cholera outbreaks around water pumps in victorian London etc.
Vitamin D, has been shown to mitigate and expedite healing of TB and other infections. Get good sun exposure during the summer months (without burning), but from sept to march the sun doesn't climb high enough in the sky to reach the right wavelength to activate the receptors in your skin, even at noon. So keep supplies during winter and take at least 1,000 iu/25mcg per day. Unless you're eating several large portions of oily fish a day, dietary sources of Vit D don't touch the sides of what you need. Also ensure you eat calcium and vit k2.
Diet... simple, balanced and unprocessed. Wholegrains have more vitamins and amino acids to build protein, but take more fuel to cook. Rosehips contain lots of vitamin C, hence why they were collected and made into syrup in WW2.
Avoid inflammatory foods like sugar and white bread... infections can be harboured and agrevated in inflamed spots.
First aid... do a course, build a kit, including gloves and other transmission control items.
Dental... keep supplies of toothbrushes and toothpaste. You can eke out toothpaste by only using a smudge, but be scrupulous about brushing routines. Go and have a check up soon and any forseeable work that needs doing, eg wisdom tooth extractions. Avoid all but small amounts of sugar.
Quarantine infected household members.
Read "where there is no doctor" & keep a hard copy.
Eating less meat only works at a population level, rather than being something you can do to protect yourself. If you boycott meat, you'll contribute a vanishingly tiny amount to the reduction of AB use in farm animals. But the same disease vectors and transmission patterns will still be there. Only political and legislative action at a global level will make a difference. You might avoid eating the pack of dodgy meat yourself, but the next person along in the supermarket buys it, gets sick, leaves their germs in a public place, which gets back to you. The AB resistance horse has bolted now, we need to lobby against new resistances emerging through prophylaxes/growth promoter use, and advocate for new medical research.
Thanks- that's the kind of practical knowledge that hopefully will become also part of common place education again before people are too vulnerable. Preventive methods and changing behaviour- problem is it's easy to know what is good for you but not practice and good habits are not so easily formed..
Barry makes a very good point about what you shove in your gob can come back and bite you in the arse in terms of "ripe breeding grounds".
I don't know how to handle an internal infection without AB's aside a few herbs for ingestion, but am a big fan of "dunking in the sea" external wounds on both human and animal.
I've sorted out more than one animal with a large bucket of salt, bottle of iodine, tea tree oil and firm demand of "begone".
Pneumonia used to be known as the old man's friend. I can't help thinking that for some people who are very old and very frail this can be a blessing. Controversial view but there you go. Having worked with people with dementia, there are some who have a very poor quality of life but are pulled back from every infection because that's what doctors do, they save lives.
Thanks for the links, will settle down for a read later - have been darn sarf to visit the PILs, it's a two day affair as MIL frets terribly if someone does the round trip in one day, bless her.
I suppose I've lived in places where many people didn't have access to antibiotics- you would see kids with cuts painted purple with gentian violet, something I had no idea of before.
We used to use gentian violet on the horses, had no idea it was still available. Great stuff, might add it to the kit.
stratter Buy the cow/sheep stuff. Same kit, half the price.
An interesting reflection on the types of treatments we currently take for granted and which will become v high risk if antibiotics are unavailabl.
I had a sobering moment about this yesterday. A couple of years ago I had a dog bite on my hand after separating my dog and another in a fight. Over the course of the day the pain got worse and my hand was swelling up right up to my wrist. I took myself off to walk in minor injuries unit, immediately put on antibiotics, and the nurse drew a line on my wrist and said if the swelling gets to that point take myself off to a and e will immediate effect. All was well and antibiotics did the trick and stopped the pain and swelling.
Yesterday my dog bit my finger by accident snatching at a treat. And the same thing happened. Except this time I dispatched Dh to get some TCP and submerged my hand in it for ages. It seems to have worked as the pain and swelling have both subsided.
But it has got me thinking about two questions really.
1) in the first instant would I have died without antibiotics?
2) would an antiseptic liquid always work and kill off any bacteria, so would stop the need for antibiotics in a bacterial infection from a cut, or rash.
I'm no expert but think drastic solutions like amputation could become more common.. Hardly bears thinking of.
Thanks for the recommendation of "Where theres no doctor", I've just bought it
I've done a first aid course but I'd like to know more medical stuff so hopefully it'll be interesting. I'm far too reliant on ringing Drs I think (it's dead easy to get a house visit here I live)
That would make sense OP. If limb is chopped off <cheery> then the infection wouldn't spread, I guess.
Have just read some of those links. Very sobering indeed.
Oh Yes, sobering indeed. I don't know whether this link has been posted on MN but it rather looks as if this horse has indeed bolted and we're now in a Sauve Qui Peut situation.
It occurred to me that there are some interesting issues to be discussed about our immune systems in the event of no last-line antibiotics being available. (For example, what we could do to boost the immune systems of our children and ourselves.) That is so wide though that my brain hurts even thinking about it - and biology is not my strong suit in any case.
We'll diet-wise avoid sugar - that'll kill most woes.
Does anyone use probiotics.
I make my own. I've got a nice brew of kombucha tea going and I make kefir daily.
I should also put down a jar of sauerkraut. DH loves the stuff but I prefer it made with peppers.
I use iodine on all wounds. Haven't had antibiotics for three and a half years.
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