End of the Line for Antibiotics? Some Things to Know

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus BacteriaAccording to the CDC, the antibiotic age is passed, that is until a new round of research brings new drugs to deal with the super bugs of today.  You know them by MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and resistant strains of influenza, pneumonia, streptococcus and tuberculosis.

In the early 1990’s these were being monitored in the prison system.  Their appearance made many people choose not to enter careers working within the penal system.  In the early 2000’s average people, friends and family, we knew were being diagnosed with incurable pneumonia or MRSA.

Add to all this that a bacteria produces an enzyme which allows bugs to become stronger and more resistant to antibiotics.  One analogy was spinach is to Popeye as the enzyme NDM-1 is to bugs.  One Canadian outbreak of NDM-1 (New Dheli metallo-β-lactamase-1) was traced back to a hospital’s shared hand-washing sink.  The patients had not left the country.  NDM-1 is found to be linked to many bugs and can jump from one bug to another, making both bugs stronger than antibiotics.

Considering pharmaceutical companies have had more than 25 years to develop new drugs to combat these bugs, but have chosen not to because there isn’t much money to be made in this area of research, we are pretty much left to our own devices and to the harshest of treatments medical science has to offer.

Still not sure it’s a big deal?  Do on internet search for MRSA images.  When you stop being sick, decide if it’s a big deal.  The other resistant strains of bugs are just as dangerous and deadly.  Right now there isn’t much to do but treat the symptoms or use toxic medication, and hope you survive if you get one of these super bugs. It’s best to take precautions rather than throw up your hands in defeat.  Here are some things you can do.

  • Never use public hand-washing sinks.  Instead, carry with you hand sanitizer and use it often.
  • Avoid public restrooms completely if at all possible.  If you can’t, don’t touch anything you don’t have to touch.  Then use your hand sanitizer.
  • Do not put your purse or bags on the floor in restrooms.  They pick up feces and then you carry that around with you and expose you and your family to what ever was in the feces.  If there is no place to hang items, leave.
  • Pay attention to the CDC weekly infection reports.  Consider if you really want to go eat at a restaurant during high exposure risk times.
  • Stop shaking hands with people.  It is rumored that Donald Trump won’t shake hands with school teachers because of the germs students carry.
  • Avoid places where sick people go; hospitals and the doctor’s offices.
  • If you can choose to have your surgery needs in hospitals designed for a specific type of surgery, do it.  An orthopedic surgery hospital is less likely to have influenza patients.
  • Always choose outpatient surgeries when possible.  The less time in a hospital, the less risk of exposure and they cost less money.
  • Reserve hugs and other physical contact and close proximity to people you know well and/or who live with you.
  • Take good care of your body.  Eat right, sleep well, and get some exercise.
  • In Japan, people routinely wear surgical masks to protect them from catching something from other people.  In the United States we still tend to look at someone who does this as “weird” or “crazy” or we assume THEY are the contagious ones.  Maybe we should rethink that behavior.
  • Cleanliness is important.  Shower after exertion or getting dirty.  Wash hands frequently for at least 30 seconds with soap and water.
  • Wear gloves when cleaning children’s runny noses.
  • Take nutritional supplements.  Not just “any” supplements.  Do your research and determine which ones you need more than others.  They are important.  RedFish was recently told by her doctor to take vitamin D3 5,000 units every day for the rest of her life to prevent more cancer cells from forming.
  • Stay away from things that decrease your immune system like alcohol, recreational drugs, and other risky behaviors.
  • Shop during low business periods.  For instance, after work and weekends are the busiest for grocery stores.  Consider going after 10:00 p.m., while the best time to shop in malls is immediately after opening at 9:00 a.m. on weekdays.
  • Be observant.  Sick people usually look sick once symptoms start. Stay away from them.  Do not let them serve or prepare your food.
  • People who travel, especially to India, are at greater risk of getting and spreading NDM-1.  Keep your distance from people who travel outside the country, but be polite.  Wait until the incubation period has passed before you hug on them.

So there you have it.  Super bugs and super bug food (NDM-1).  The best thing we can do is be prepared to take appropriate actions when the time is right.  The world is changing.  No longer is mainstream society able to say people are crazy when they are standoffish about catching some disease from someone.  Remember, always be polite when declining to sit close to someone or declining a hug, kiss or handshake from others.  Don’t be rude to an ignorant someone who stares at you if you are wearing a medical mask.  It’s the rude ones who get called crazy.  They’re not crazy, just rude.

References:
Mail Online News
National Collaborating Center Infectious Disease
NCCID Purple Paper
Center for Disease Control
Arizona Department Health Services
CBC News
photos by: NIAID & Eneas