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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Janice Norris: Protect yourself and others from Superbugs

  • “Superbugs” was the subject of an article in September 28 AARP Bulletin a reader shared with me.
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  •  “Superbugs” was the subject of an article in September 28 AARP Bulletin a reader shared with me. 
    I once heard a doctor say, “I refuse to treat symptoms.”  He realized that a symptom is not the illness.  Listen closely to drug commercials, especially for colds and flu.  They say to treat the “symptoms” of a cold or flu.  They don’t say they cure anything.  A symptom is simply your body’s attempt to send you a message.   A headache is your body saying something is wrong, change it.  Fever urges you to go to bed and keep warm.  Aches and pains mean your body needs to rest and detoxify.  When we squelch the body’s signals, we pay a mighty price.  I just had my fall cleaning in the form of a cold, flu, virus, or whatever.  A week ago, I went to bed for two days drank water and slept.  Today I feel great and any little soreness I had before this cleanse is gone.  Yes, it is uncomfortable for a while and, in fact, was miserable.  But without medicine, my body did what it was attempting—cleansed. 
    The overuse of antibiotics is creating deadly superbugs that they cannot kill.  It is the survival of the fittest, much like what has happened in the farming industry. 
    Why have we let this deplorable situation for which we have no answers develop?  Because we are looking for quick cures and the pharmaceutical industry is alert to take advantage of our willingness to turn our health over to someone else and refuse to learn for ourselves. 
    People worldwide have come to believe that antibiotics can treat all manner of disorders, even the common cold and flu, both of which are caused by virus and not affected by antibiotics, which actually means “against bacteria”.   Doctors say patients demand antibiotics for these disorders.  They tend to think the medicine cured them when, actually, the virus ran its course and would be gone (probably more quickly) without medicine. 
    People worldwide are “pill poppers” and increasingly believe that taking a pill will cure whatever ails you.   The AARP article discusses the global overuse of antibiotics, what they do to health and the superbugs that are the result of the survival of the fittest.  Much the same thing is happening in the overuse of pesticides.   They are mutating into bugs that cannot be killed by any antibiotic or pesticide. 
    Humans consume 7 million pounds of antibiotics a year and animal consume 29 million pounds.  This unprecedented use of antibiotics is taking its toll on human health.  As with many quick pill fixes, they are not all they are cracked up to be.
    Page 2 of 3 - We need to educate ourselves on the use of antibiotics and all medicine—and on how our bodies have powerful healing abilities.  Often, doctors know only what the drug salesman tells them and I doubt s/he mentions that taking too much of any medicine is going to have long term detrimental effects.  Several years ago, a persistent cough sent me to the doctor to see if I had pneumonia.  I was told I definitely did not have pneumonia but the nurse practitioner said she would prescribe an antibiotic for me.  She was shocked when I told her I didn’t want one.  Then she agreed with me but said it is almost unheard of for anyone not to demand medicine.  We agreed I would over it in a couple of days and I was—without medicine.
    “Taking antibiotics, whether necessary or not, affects the individual and possibly others in the community.  It changes the mix of microorganisms living in the gut and on the skin, killing sensitive bacteria and giving drug-resistant germs a chance to take hold.”  In other words, there are bacteria in the intestinal tract that are necessary in keeping your digestive and immune systems strong.  Antibiotic means “against bacteria”.  It doesn’t differentiate between the good bacteria essential for your good health and that which caused illness.   The antibiotic kills them all.  Consequently, the good bacteria are no longer there to ward off invading harmful organisms.  Perhaps this is why children who take frequent antibiotics get sick time after time. 
    From the AARP article: “Research suggests that taking commonly prescribed antibiotics increases a person's own risk of harboring or being infected with MRSA (short for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus auereus). Recent or current treatment with antibiotics is the single biggest risk factor for infection with Clostridium difficile — C. diff — drug-resistant bacteria found mostly in health care facilities that can cause severe diarrhea. Conservative estimates link this bacteria to at least 14,000 American deaths a year.  Like any bacteria, resistant bugs can also be passed to household members and others. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that in hospitals, nearly half of all antibiotic prescriptions are inappropriate.  That undoubtedly applies to non-hospital prescriptions.
     The AARP Bulletin suggested that you protect yourself from super bugs by:  Making sure your doctor knows you only want an antibiotic if it is absolutely necessary.  Don’t insist on antibiotics for colds or flu.  When prescribed an antibiotic, take all the pills, even if you feel better.  Don’t share or save antibiotics.  Buy meat raised without antibiotics.  Most experts agree using fewer antibiotics will slow the emergence of resistant germs.  Wash your hands frequently; plain soap and water are just as effective as antibacterial soaps.  Widespread use of antibacterial products may actually promote the development of resistant bacteria.  Cook meat thoroughly, and wash hands, tools and surfaces after handling raw meat. 
    Page 3 of 3 - Keeping your immune system strong by eating a healthful diet free of sugar and processed foods, getting exercise, plenty of rest and drinking only water will help too.

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