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Scots to thank & a word on antibiotic resistance

Today, Ireland face Scotland in round 4 of the #sixnations. Scotland have shaken up the tournament this year, having beaten France and England. Thank you for that, Scotland!

Now, when you think of Scotland you may think of IrnBru, kilts and bagpipes, but Scotland has produced some great minds and inventions over the years.

Don't believe me?

Sir James Young Simpson pioneered the use of anesthesia during labour. He began using chloroform, and is said to have tried it on his dinner guests at his home on Queen Street, Edinburgh! The drug was not immediately accepted by the public. However Queen Victoria insisted on it for her 6th pregnancy. After, she said "that blessed Chloroform...soothing, quieting and delightful beyond measure", and changed public opinion quickly!

Although Chloroform is not used during labour today, anesthesia is still widely chosen by women in the form of an epidural.

Thank you James Young Simpson for promoting pain relief during labour!

Sir Alexander Fleming (from Ayrshire) discovered Penicillin in 1928. Fleming realised that Penicillin had anti-bacterial properties and could kill many harmful bacteria in his lab. His discovery won him a Nobel Prize in 1945. Rightly so, considering the wide ranging use of Penicillin even today.

Penicillin antibiotics include Amoxicillin (eg Amoxil), Co-Amoxiclav (eg Augmentin), Flucloxacillin (eg Floxapen) and many more.

They treat a huge range of bacterial infections including chest infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections, dental abscesses, tonsillitis, gonorrhea..... Before Fleming's discovery, there was no treatment for this infections and many people didn't survive them. Today, antibiotics mean that we are back to health after a short course of medicine.

It is important to mention here that antibiotic resistance is becoming a serious problem. Bacteria are pretty clever and understandably don't want to be killed! So they change themselves, making antibiotics ineffective. This means that we constantly have to research and update medicines to fight new strains of bacteria.

Simultaneously, antibiotics are being prescribed and taken at a higher level than is necessary. For example, for viral infections, a cold or flu. In these instances antibiotics are not effective, but increase antibiotic resistance.

Ultimately, antibiotic resistance poses a massive risk to global health, as infections become more difficult to treat.

Here are some things that you can do to prevent antibiotic resistance (WHO 2017):

  • Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.

  • Never demand antibiotics if your health worker says you don’t need them.

  • Always follow your health worker’s advice when using antibiotics.

  • Never share or use leftover antibiotics.

  • Prevent infections by regularly washing hands, avoiding close contact with sick people, practicing safer sex, and keeping vaccinations up to date.

  • Prepare food hygienically, following the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food (keep clean, separate raw and cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures, use safe water and raw materials) and choose foods that have been produced without the use of antibiotics for growth promotion or disease prevention in healthy animals.

Thank you Alexander Fleming for noticing this mould in your lab, hopefully antibiotics will be around for years to come!

Other amazing Scottish discoveries:

  • Dolly the Sheep- the World's first cloned mammal (1996), available to see at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

  • Finger-print testing- proposed by Dr Henry Faulds in 1880 and still used today as a means of identification.

  • The flushing toilet- patented by Alexander Cummings in 1775.

  • The telephone- Scottish born Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in 1875.

  • Chicken tikka masala- created by a Pakistani chef in Glasgow.

These are only a few Scottish discoveries and inventions that have changed the World.

Something the Scots have yet to achieve? A six nations championship win!!

Let's see what Scotland can pull off today in Dublin! COYBIG!

Lots of love,

Little O x

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