Antibiotic Resistance Facts: Staying Safe from Superbugs

anthia-koullouros

Anthia Koullouros

Naturopath and Holistic Health Expert

Antibiotics, once a significant medical breakthrough, have now become a serious public health concern. In the war against infectious disease we have deployed our antibiotic defences far and wide. The result is the development of antibiotic-resistant ‘Superbugs’. Educating yourself on all the antibiotic resistance facts can help protect you and your family from health risks.

antibiotics

Bacteria that survive one or more rounds of antibiotics are considered to be resistant; those surviving multiple rounds are deemed multidrug resistant or superbugs. These bugs survive by sticking to a surface in the body and enclosing themselves in a tough outer layer, called a Biofilm. The plaque that develops on teeth is just one of many examples of bacterial biofilm.

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics underpin this rapidly growing health concern. Some of the key contributing factors include:

Incorrect use of antibiotics:

Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses and may not be necessary for small infections that the immune system is capable of healing on its own. Taking an antibiotic unnecessarily can lead to bacterial resistance.

Over-prescription:

When the first round of antibiotic treatment is not effective, healthcare providers may have to resort to a second or third round, which in addition to developing bacterial resistance can have toxic effects on the liver. The antibiotics themselves can also have side effects, causing damage to the body’s own cells and lowering overall immunity.

Antibiotic use in livestock feed:

Antibiotics are often given to farm animals living in close quarters to prevent the spread of disease. Resistant bacteria in animals can be transmitted to humans through direct contact or the consumption of animal products such as dairy, meat, eggs and seafood.

Environmental pollution:

Antibiotics have been polluting the environment since their introduction, as a by-product of medication use, farming, household products and the pharmaceutical industry.

Household use of anti-bacterial soaps and other products. The steady increase in use of anti-bacterial products at home is also contributing to bacterial resistance.

The impending superbug crisis has a three-prong solution:

1. Better prevention of infection – strengthen your immune system to prevent the need for antibiotics.
2. Responsible use of antibiotics for people and animals – including a return to biodynamic farming and an overhaul of our current food system.
3. Innovative new approaches to the treatment of infections from all branches of science, natural as well as allopathic.

 

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