Superbugs Becoming a Health Crisis in America

Likely, you’ve heard about the growing health crisis in America concerning superbugs. These are bacteria that are becoming resistant to the antibiotics that we use. Antibiotics were first developed in the 70s, creating a revolution of sulfanilamide antibiotics like penicillin, which was used in World War II, saving millions of wounded soldiers and civilians. After the rise of antibiotics being used for everything from the common cold to pneumonia were being used. Today, the overuse of antibiotics is putting a whiplash on the medical industry. Both people and livestock are witnessing antibiotic-resistant infections, known as superbugs. This isn’t only happening in America, it’s happening all across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, superbugs are a larger threat than terrorism.

The amount of superbugs popping up throughout the world is rising rapidly. More people are getting infections, sometimes killing them. For instance, Staphylococcus, or Staph, is a bacteria that causes skin infections.  When it get into your bloodstream through the gateway of a cut, oral antibiotics like methicillin (cousin to penicillin) are given to you to treat it. But because methicillin has been overused, Staph has become resistant to it. This new superbug is known as MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staph aureus, which today, it a deadly infection. Something as simple as a skin infection can now put you in the hospital, requiring you to receive powerful antibiotics via IV. This can cause serious side effects to patients. Common ailments like children’s ear infections and UTI in adults are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Why Superbugs Develop and Antibiotics Stop Working

Because antibiotics are over-the-counter, it causes an overuse of them by the public. This makes them less effective to fighting disease, causing superbugs to be born. Antibiotics are commonly used in the agriculture business for livestock. It is fed to the animals and now, it is causing resistance. Humans don’t receive antibiotic resistance by eating treated meat, but it does contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance for human medicine. People can fight this by eating grass-fed beef that is certified to be antibiotic-free.

Lack of New Antibiotics

Not only are we fighting a problem with antibiotic-resistant superbugs, but we are also facing a lack of new antibiotics to fight them off. Pharmaceutical companies haven’t had their focus on creating new antibiotics, so there aren’t many on the market. Only one new antibiotic has been approved by the FDA since 2010. Seven others are on the way, but none of them have a guarantee for approval.

How You Can Protect Your Health

The number one solution to this problem is to not overuse antibiotics. There are some common sicknesses that you can get over without the use of antibiotics, such as the following:

  • Common cold: Lasts about seven days and can be soothed by teas and other herbal remedies.
  • Sinusitis: Stay away from antibiotics unless it lasts for more than 10 days.
  • Urinary pain: some aren’t infections, especially for women who have gone through menopause.
  • Skin problems: use a topical antibiotic versus an oral antibiotic.
  • Chronic bronchitis: caused by cold air or low air quality. See the doctor if you start to see yellow or green phlegm.

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