A world without antibiotics would be a scary place, indeed. Before the advent of antibiotics, people often died of infections, injuries or pneumonia, very different from today’s world where we are more likely to succumb to heart disease and cancer. Many in the medical and scientific communities are now sounding the alarm that the golden age of antibiotics, which allows for surgery, joint replacement, organ transplants, dialysis, c-sections, cancer treatments and other medical procedures, is coming to an end. The post-antibiotic era will not look much different from the pre-antibiotic era, when minor wounds progressed to a point of amputation, 3 in 10 children succumbed to pneumonia and women often died in childbirth.
How did we get to this point? For 70 years, we have been developing new antibiotics to replace each current one as they became ineffective. Antibiotic resistance is an inevitable biological process in which bacteria evolve to outsmart the drugs designed to kill them. This is now happening so quickly that many giant pharmaceutical companies no longer find it cost effective to invest in developing new antibiotics. That’s unfortunate, as antibiotic resistant infections are spreading so rapidly across states, continents and around the globe, that the worldwide death toll may already be high as 700,000 people per year. Experts predict that by 2050, the death toll could escalate to 10 million people each year if these resistant superbug infections are not brought under control.
By recklessly and heedlessly squandering our antibiotics, we are largely responsible for accelerating the resistance process. Today, 50% of the antibiotics administered in hospital settings are unnecessary and 45% of antibiotic prescriptions written by doctors are for conditions that antibiotics cannot help. We routinely abuse and overuse prophylactic antibiotics in the factory farm industries, not for illnesses, but to fatten up food animals and to provide some degree of protection against the horribly crowded conditions under which they are raised. Upwards of 80% of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. each year go to farm animals, not humans.
Can we change the outcome? There are a few companies that are working to develop new antibiotics to combat these resistant superbugs. However, we are running out of options, as new drugs coming into the marketplace typically take 10 years for approval and bacteria can develop resistance to those drugs within a much shorter period of time, often within a year or two. Legislation that speeds up the approval process and halts the rampant abuse of antibiotics in the industrial farming industry is sorely needed. We must change our attitude and stop insisting we leave every doctor visit with a prescription in our hands, even when the doctor feels the prescription will not help us get better faster or even at all.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), clinicians, health care facility leaders, public health leaders, farmers and agricultural leaders, policy makers and patients all have key roles to play if we are going to reverse the current antibiotic resistance public health threat. Because antibiotic resistance happens as part of the natural evolutionary process of bacteria, it can be slowed, but not completely stopped, and new antibiotics and therapies will always be needed to keep up. New drug development will help, but others must also do their part. Healthcare providers must improve prescribing practices, and patients need to understand that there are risks as well as benefits to taking antibiotics. As the fight against this public health threat intensifies, during your next visit to the doctor it will help to remember that the right targeted medicine at the appropriate time is the best approach to getting better.
Here are some things that you should know:
- The majority of infections are viral and antibiotics will not work. Many times, illnesses, such as an upper respiratory infection, can take up to 3 weeks to resolve. Be patient and give your body time to heal.
- Don’t pressure your healthcare provider to prescribe antibiotics and don’t take them unless absolutely necessary.
- If you are prescribed antibiotics, take the whole dose even as you start to feel better.
- As antibiotics are targeted for specific illnesses, never treat yourself with leftover antibiotics from a prior illness.
- Protect your health by avoiding factory farmed antibiotic laden foods.
- Avoid antibacterial household products, such as hand soaps or cleaning products.
- Wash your hands frequently with plenty of plain old soap and water.
- Avoid illness by creating a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of nutrients that support immune health, maintain a healthy weight, participate in physical activity, reduce stress and get sufficient sleep.
- Be sure to get all of your essential vitamins and minerals each day to ensure that all your micronutrient needs are met. Micronutrient deficiencies inevitably lead to illness and disease.
The following high quality products aid in supporting immune system health and function:
Viral Aid by Professional Botanicals – This proprietary product provides key ingredients, which support the maintenance of a healthy immune system and enable the body to effectively fight infections. Viral Aid is especially helpful in fighting infections caused by viruses, bacteria and other pathogens when taken at the onset of symptoms, such as congestion, cough and sore throat.
PRP Immune Recovery Spray by Neurobiologix – This bovine colostrum based natural immune spray is rich in polypeptides, which help to provide viral protection and modulate normal immune responses. As an immunity booster, this product is recommended to speed up immune system recovery and maintain immune health throughout cold and flu season.
Immune Protect with Paractin® by Life Extension – This patented formula provides a blend of ingredients that have been clinically shown to boost immune function, aiding the body’s natural ability to combat challenges.
Viralief by Verified Quality – This formula contains traditional herbs, bee propolis, zinc and botanicals, all known for their anti-viral and immune boosting properties.
We’re fast approaching a ‘post-antibiotics era” and it won’t be pretty. http://www.businessinsider.com/what-will-happen-when-antibiotics-stop-working-2015-6
The End of Antibiotics. Can We Come Back from the Brink? http://blogs.cdc.gov/cdcdirector/2014/05/05/the-end-of-antibiotics-can-we-come-back-from-the-brink/
No Z-Pak for You! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ranit-mishori-md-mhs/antibiotic-resistance_b_8599678.html