You may have seen the article in The Guardian that circulated late last week: â€œAre You Ready For A World Without Antibioticsâ€ in which it is proclaimed that â€œThe era of antibiotics is coming to a closeâ€ and phrases like â€œantibiotic apocalypseâ€ are thrown out. In brief, a study published in The Lancet has found a bacterial gene that causes certain types of bacteria (including E. Coli and Pneumonia) to gain resistance to our current most powerful batches of antibiotics.
In response to recent antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA some drug companies have focused on creating antibiotics to combat those strains, however, keeping antibiotics new and strong amounts to an arms race–one that isnâ€™t very profitable. With resistance spreading, thereâ€™s an estimate in The Guardian article that, optimistically, there are ten years of conservative antibiotic use left.
What that means is that, if youâ€™re young, you will raise kids in a world without antibiotics, if youâ€™re old, lung diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis are incredibly more life-threatening, and if you arenâ€™t healthy–you need immuno-suppressants for a cancer treatment, a transplant, or you need a simple operation–thereâ€™s nothing to stop a bacterial infection from taking your life. It also means things we have become accustomed to treating, like Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), are again ravaging diseases, not to mention death from hospital strains of bacteria will (and already are) going up.
How can you protect yourself? The immediate step is to practice rigorous hygiene: wash your hands frequently, and make a point of washing them before eating or touching your eyes/ears/mouth. Be especially careful when traveling, as many of the stronger antibiotic resistant bacteria developed in communities where water is shared without mindfulness of proper hygiene practices. Look for ways to keep your immune system strong; take care of yourself (stress, sleep, diet, exercise) and supplement to make sure that all of your bodies needs are filled; look for natural antibiotics that may help defend your immune system.