Readers' letters - January 19

Let's heed concern of yachtswoman

By The Newsroom
Friday, 19th January 2018, 1:21 pm
Updated Friday, 19th January 2018, 3:20 pm
Ellen MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur

The Tory party general election manifesto of 2017 contained nothing about plastic and now, in an attempt to capture the young voter, Theresa May has pledged to deliver a plastic-free coastline.Her timescale of 25 years is not good enough. In that time a further 300 million tonnes of plastic pollution will enter the oceans.Labour, however, did have a commitment to plastics in its election manifesto which included safeguarding habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding our island, setting guiding targets for plastic bottle schemes and working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste. Yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, pictured, who sailed solo around the world, said she realised on her journey how small our planet is and how heavily polluted our oceans are. We should heed her concerns.John AppleyardAddress supplied

healthIgnorance about antibioticsI was interested to read Paul Andrews’ letter (LP Letters, January 10) regarding his possible solution to the NHS crisis.An antibiotic is a chemical used against mainly bacterial infections. The causative agent of flu is, however, a virus for which there are no antibiotics which will work effectively. Thus there is absolutely no reason for a doctor to prescribe an antibiotic (used primarily to treat a bacterial infection) to ‘treat’ a “cough caused by flu at an early stage”, as it will simply not work. Its only use would be as a placebo and this would be a costly one to prescribe. The only time that an antibiotic would be prescribed in this case would be if the patient, now having a lowered immunity due to the effects of the flu virus, now develops a bacterial infection, which then CAN be treated using an antibiotic such as amoxicillin or ampicillin.This is what the recent NHS campaign, promoted on television, has been all about. The idea that the policy of withholding the prescribing of (useless) antibiotics at an early stage to prevent the increase in super bugs is counter-productive, is, at best, ludicrous and, at worst, a dangerous philosophy to follow. Super bugs are those that gain acquired immunity from antibiotics by being subject to them. These bugs do what Darwin taught us all many years ago: the survival of the fittest. This means that, in the case of super bugs, while some may be killed by the antibiotic, others will survive and it is these that, over time, not only increase in numbers but also become increasingly resistant to the antibiotic which is thrown at them. Take the bug MRSA. This particular staphylococcus aureus bacterium is now noted for its resistance to many antibiotics and can thus become a killer as our bodies’ defences have not done their ‘survival of the fittest’ bit in being able to produce antibodies to naturally kill this bug. The bug is free to reproduce with little to attack it until the numbers are such that it produces an infection and, in sufficient quantities, it can then kill us.To my mind, A&E departments get overloaded simply because patients cannot get appointments with their GPs because people, as soon as they get a sniffle or a mild cough, clog up the surgery waiting rooms demanding to be prescribed useless antibiotics and indeed waste doctors’ time by them having to justify why their patient cannot be given an antibiotic. Personally I would not mind, er, coughing up some extra National Insurance (NI) to aid the NHS if finance is a problem, but I wouldn’t wish to have my hard-earned cash wasted on patients who have a limited grasp on knowledge about germs. A Member of Staff Aureus

family treeLooking for information

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I am tracing my family tree and hope that you might be able to assist me in my research. I am trying to find information about an accident that happened on April 17, 1964 at Whittle-le-Woods, where my cousin Carol Anne Woodcock, who was 17 years old, was killed in a car accident. Carol Anne was born December, 1946, in Croston, Preston. She died on April 17, 1964. She lived on Caton Drive, Lancaster Lane, Leyland, and was the daughter of James Woodcock and Anne Carins.Mrs Catherine GrantCanadaContact us with any information at [email protected] and we will pass your details on to Catherine.

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