Last year was a banner year for antibiotic resistance; it was right at the early mark for what superbug experts predicted, and tests revealed widespread bacteria carrying some pretty savvy genes for surviving antibiotics. Now, patients with untreatable illnesses are turning up in hospitals. Here are some answers to common questions:
What happens to the people within untreatable illnesses? That’s actually easy to answer since cheap, common antibiotics were a fairly recent invention. Basically, you live out the course of whatever disease. Take the man in England with super gonorrhea. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in both men and women, in women, in can cause miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or blindness (from eye infection) in babies.
There are other consequences, too. Having an untreatable bacterial infection makes you a harder patient. With a weakened immune system from constantly fighting it, (or possibly fighting multiple conditions if the disease progresses), it makes it difficult to administer treatments for other diseases that may arise. A simple surgery becomes complicated, and treating cancer far more risky.
These answers are all rolled into one: we got here by overusing antibiotics, and by being aware of when to avoid them, we can lower our own personal risk. We can also lower our risk by making healthy choices to try and avoid illness.
Overusing antibiotics happens in the doctor’s office, for example, almost no one needs antibiotics for a sinus infection. It happens in hospitals, where broad spectrum antibiotics are routinely given in the emergency room, before surgery, and sometimes just for being a patient. Overuse of antibiotics especially happens in nursing homes, where it often signals an imminent death (and should they need to visit the hospital, the superbugs created are spread). And widespread superbug creation happens on ranches, where animals are given antibiotics preventatively, creating superbugs that get brought into our kitchen.
You can help change this by not demanding treatment for every illness; only rest and good self-care can get you through common viral infections (like colds, sinus infections, and winter stomach bugs) so don’t let your doctor get the impression you’re there to demand antibiotics (even if you don’t, enough patients do you might walk out with some).
You can also choose meat raised without antibiotics, which protects yourself, and helps protect the world from more superbugs forming.
Unfortunately, third world countries are major contributors to the overuse of antibiotics and development of antibiotic resistant superbugs. That’s where the super gonorrhea case came from. If you’re traveling, be aware of the risk and make decisions to protect yourself.
Self-care is an important step for everyone. It helps avoid over treating viral illnesses, and as prevention can just help you to stay healthy and avoid all the superbug risks of getting sick. Self-care starts with all the basics that have been trumpeted at you your whole life: good nutrition, exercise, enough sleep, destressing, etc.
You can also take care to support your immune system with colloidal silver. In the limited studies that have been done, colloidal silver is not associated with the growth of superbugs (it kills pathogens less superficially, making it hard or impossible for bacteria to adapt).
Are you concerned about superbugs? Let us know what you think in the comments: