There is an urgent, critical heath crisis taking place right under our noses and not many people seem to know about it. If they are aware, shockingly, they don't seem to care.
For the first time ever, the Centers For Disease Control issued an urgent warning about certain bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics. This is a nightmare scenario because it means that if you contract one of these infections, doctors might not be able to help you, and you could die.
Our most powerful antibiotics, which we hope will defeat these infections, can no longer kill these super-bugs.
How does this happen? Bacterial infections are smart. When they encounter an antibiotic that is intent on killing them, over time, the bacterial infection mutates to overcome the power of the antibiotic. This is inevitable, but it can be slowed and kept to a minimum if antibiotics were used far, far less.
In other words, only in an emergency. The way it is now, however, antibiotics are being passed out like candy at the family doctor's office and antibiotics are even being added to feed for animals used for food. Not to protect against disease, but to make them bigger, faster.
The CDC even put a number to the antibiotic resistance problem, saying every year 2 million people are made sick by antibiotic resistant bacteria. Of those, 23,000 die.
The CDC listed 18 of the most aggressive bacterial infections in their resistance to antibiotics, ranking them, the top 3 are C. Difficile, which is an intestinal bacteria, Klebsiella, a type of pnemonia, and gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease.
Perhaps the worst part of this horrific situation is that when we look at why this is happening, there doesn't seem to be any motivation on the part of the some of the worst culprits to change their behavior.
For example, the main reason bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics is because doctors are over prescribing them. It's estimated half of all antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary!
Doctors know this, but they are not motivated to stop doing it. In fact the opposite is true. There is every reason to believe they will continue over prescribing antibiotics.
This is because when patients go to the doctor with symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, head cold, or tummy bug, 95 percent of the time the infection is a viral infection, not a bacterial infection.
This is important because antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. They have no impact whatsoever on viral infections, except, of course they can make it worse.
When you take an antibiotic, it kills all the bacteria in your body. That's bad news because some of our naturally occuring bacteria, actually a lot of it, fights all kinds of infections, bad bacteria and viruses.
So why do doctors do this? It's because of the 5 percent of the cases that turn out to actually be bacterial infections. Doctors don't want to risk NOT prescribing an antibiotic to a patient who might actually have a bacterial infection.
Imagine how that doctor would feel sending home a person with a bacterial infection, who later gets worse, when he could have given a helpful antibiotic. They just don't want to take the chance that someone who probably has a viral infection actually has a bacterial infection.
Right now there is a way to know for sure whether an infection is bacterial or viral, but the results usually take days, and no one wants to wait that long.
So doctors are the biggest culprits in the antibiotic resistance nightmare because they over prescribe them and don't have any incentive to stop.
The other culprits are the drug companies.
Drug companies could and should invent new antibiotics to replace the old ones that aren't working any longer. But sadly, that's not likely to happen because there isn't much profit for them. Their big cash-cows are the statins and the cancer drugs. Those are the big money makers, not antibiotics.
In the last five years only two new antibiotics have been developed. Compare that to the mid-1980s, when drug companies came out with 16 new antibiotics in only four years.
But when you think about it from their perspective, why should they invent a product that's not going to make them money? These companies are most concerned about their bottom line and that's not about to change.
The only thing that would change their behavior is if they were offered economic incentives to invent new antibiotics. We can contact our legislators to push for that type of change.
What can you do slow down the antibiotic resistance scare? This might sound obvious, but it's true: Don't get sick.
If we didn't get infections, we wouldn't be offered antibiotics. The best way to prevent getting an infection is to wash your hands, get plenty of rest, take vitamins C, D, zinc, and magnesium and take a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil a day, because it is a natural antimicrobial.
Drink lots of water... and pray...which reduces stress AMONG OTHER THINGS!
If you do get sick, go ahead and see the doctor. But don't insist on an antibiotic. Lots of doctors cave to pressure from their patients who want one. Instead, suggest to leave without an antibiotic, and promise to call the doctor if you get worse, which might indicate you will need one later.
Some hospitals are doing a good job of reducing the spread of infection. You can check with your state health department to find out which hospitals are doing the best. Hospitals are required to report the number of infections in their facility.
When you see a healthcare provider, make sure you witness them sanitizing their hands when they enter the room. Don't fight it if they want to discharge you soon. The longer you are in the hospital, the more prone you are to getting an infection there. If you have a catheter, see about getting it removed as soon as possible because having one in too long is a chief cause of infection.