Listen to your Gut campaign launched to tackle antibiotic misuse

Posted on: 12 November 2015

A campaign to help parents care for their children when they have minor ailments like coughs and colds, without using unnecessary antibiotics, has been launched across Devon.

The Devon County Council Public Health campaign, ‘Listen to your gut’ follows a successful pilot by parents at the Braunton and Ilfracombe Children’s centre, which saw the development of a social media campaign consisting of an animation of ‘talking tums’.  These tums represent parents in the playground sharing tips for treating minor ailments, looking after healthy gut bacteria and avoiding the side effects of antibiotics.

As part of the campaign, self-help treatment guides will be available throughout pharmacists and GPs.   Produced by Public Health England and delivered in partnership with North East and West (NEW) Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the guides are designed to support people treating their children’s minor illness at home.    The campaign will launch to coincide with the national Antibiotic Guardian awareness week and campaign day on November 18.

Dr Virginia Pearson, Devon County Council’s Director of Public Health, said:  “We want not only to empower parents to trust their gut instinct when looking after their children this winter, but also to know the importance of their children’s healthy gut bacteria.

“We are really pleased to be working in partnership with GPs and  pharmacists across Devon, who can issue personalised treatment guides to help parents care for their child.”

Tom Lewis, consultant microbiologist said:  “Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria, and our bodies live in partnership with them.

“We know that these bacteria produce essential vitamins, such as Vitamin K. Some evidence suggests that they also help us develop healthy immune systems, and may help us digest our food in ways that keep us more healthy.”

Councillor Andrea Davis, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, is encouraging people to sign up to become an antibiotic guardian, by signing the national pledge.

“Following on from last year’s successful pilot in Ilfracombe, we are rolling this campaign out across Devon this year, to encourage parents to avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics,” said Councillor Davis.

“We need to protect these important drugs for future generations, and it’s vital that we act now to do so.  We all have a role to play, as patients, as parents and, by signing up to the pledge, as antibiotic guardians.”

Dr Tim Burke, a GP from North Devon and chair of NHS NEW Devon CCG, said:   “We know that most people will get better from most coughs and colds without antibiotics. People often just need to take care, not antibiotics.

“If we do need antibiotics however, we can all play our part in helping to ensure that we don’t have more and more bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics, by always completing the course as instructed and never skipping doses or saving them for later.”

Exeter mum of three Sarah Ogilvy, said:  “The campaign is great.  It’s really important to know that your child can go from one to cold to another and that antibiotics won’t do any good. I worry about antibiotics because they can wipe out all the good stuff.”

Sign the pledge and become an antibiotic guardian or join the conversation on Twitter using #antibioticguardian

Find out more about Listen to your Gut campaign

2 comments on “Listen to your Gut campaign launched to tackle antibiotic misuse

  1. Jude Carson says:

    Sorry, I get the name of the campaign, but you have to have two bare female midriffs on show because……?

    Are not dad’s parents as well? Do the women’s tummies have to be bare or we won’t know where a ‘gut’ is?

    • louise.raymond says:

      Hi Jude – thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      The campaign was devised by and tested with a local children’s centre, because they were a good representation of our target audience. Research shows that mothers are the main care givers, and we did test a number of ideas, but these animations were the ones that were chosen by the parents involved.

      We really welcome and value feedback on our campaigns and will use your comments when planning future campaigns.

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