For years, many of us have relied on antibiotic use to treat various infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. And the reality is that antibiotics have been responsible for saving millions of lives since the invention of penicillin nearly 75 years ago. However, today is a new era in which taking antibiotics can now cause some very dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations. In fact, you may have heard about the new “superbugs”, which are antibiotic-resistant bacteria that have developed as a result of overprescribed antibiotics. In the past, health experts warned us that the day would come in which it would become very difficult to provide medical care for even common problems such as pneumonia or strep throat. And, apparently, that day has come because seemingly routine operations such as caesarean sections and knee replacements are now much more hazardous due to the looming threat of these infections.
The problem has grown into such epidemic proportions that this severe strain of resistant bacteria is being blamed for nearly 700,000 deaths each year throughout the world; and, unfortunately, health experts worry that the number will rise to 10 million or more on a yearly basis by 2050. With such a large life-threatening epidemic, it is sad to say that only 1.2% of
budgetary money for the National Institutes of Health is currently being spent on research to treat the problem, which is insufficient for such a huge problem.
I. Causes of Antibiotic Resistance
Unfortunately, one of the largest ways in which antibiotics are overused is with the production of meats. In fact, estimates show that around 70% of U.S. antibiotics are given to our poultry and livestock in order to help fatten them up and get them ready to sell. As consumers, we should require that this be stopped and start supporting restaurants and manufacturers that are committed to non-use of antibiotics.
Many times, antibiotics are prescribed not only for bacterial infections but also to fight viruses. The problem is that antibiotics were never designed to fight viruses. So, we should question whether we really need antibiotics in the first place for bacterial infections and especially question if a doctor tries to prescribe them to treat viruses. Obviously, if we need a prescription for antibiotics, then we should take it in its entirety. Otherwise, any microorganisms that happen to survive will become even more resistant because they were not completely extinguished with the antibiotic treatment.
Use of Triclosan Products
As if there was not enough erroneous information floating out there, it now seems that many of us have been given bad advice concerning the use of soap, toothpaste, deodorant and other products containing Triclosan, which reportedly fight against bacteria. According to research and based on a normal hand-washing routine, Triclosan soap is really not any better at getting rid of germs than regular soap. In fact, as soap is washed down the drain, it has been reported that it can breed even more resistant bacteria.
II. How Antibiotics Cause Harm:
Disruption Of The Normal Bacteria Balance
Antibiotics can disturb the balance of bad and good bacteria in your body. As a result, C. Difficile bacteria can sometimes occur, which results in sickness and can also result in death if it is not treated in time. In fact, around 250,000 people develop this terrible infection on a yearly basis and around 14,000 die because of it.
Using too many antibiotics can produce “superbugs”, which is a type of bacteria that very frequently cannot be stopped even when using various types of drugs. One such superbug is known as Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is a bacteria that was once only found in hospitals but now has spread to various locations including playgrounds, lockers, communities, nail salons, etc. MRSA, and various other types of bacteria, adversely affect around 2 million U.S. people on a yearly basis and kill around 23,000.
III. New Macrolide Dangers On The Rise
The Macrolide class of drugs is a new type of antibiotic that is being linked to a small but increasing risk of having a heart attack. Macrolides are being used for bronchitis, pneumonia, and other infections such as sexually transmitted diseases. Antibiotics such as Quinolone, Azithromycin (Zithromax), and Clarithromycin (Biaxin) are included in the Macrolide class. The rising danger is such that one person out of every 8,500 patients who take Macrolides may develop a very serious heart problem and even more disturbing is that one person in every 30,000 could possibly die, according to Dr. Sami Viskin of the Tel Aviv Medical Center and the Sackler School of Medicine, which is located at the Tel Aviv University in the country of Israel. And, unfortunately, experts predict that things could continue to get even worse very quickly. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been warning about two additional threats including: Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae,(CRE) which kills almost 1/2 of all infected hospital patients once it hits the blood stream; and Shigella, which is a very contagious type of bacteria that travelers overseas frequently bring back to the states.
The World Health Organization and the European Union are calling this resistant-type of bacteria a very dangerous crisis that could very well place us on the edge of a “post-antibiotic era”. Moreover, President Obama has met with a forum in the White House consisting of 150 organizations along with Consumer Reports. As a result, the president has proposed a 2016 budget which will include $1.2 billion in order to combat these types of infections.
The reality is that antibiotic-resistance is a very serious and deadly problem. So, you need to be vigilant and do all that you can to protect your health and the health of your loved ones. The good news is that we are becoming more educated regarding the dangers, and various organizations and manufacturers are now trying to become involved to actually do something about it. For example, in the past antibiotic use in various Dutch countries was considered to be high when compared to other areas. However from 2009-2014, this danger has fallen by 59% and is slated to tally up to an additional 11% decrease by the end of the year. So, the word is beginning to spread on the dangers and crisis that is facing all of the nations of the world concerning these superbugs. It is our hope that you and your family will use the information in this article for your benefit and do all that you can to remain well.