Tag Archives: antimicrobial resistance

Antibiotics are becoming like terrorists with nukes – AMR is just a sideshow

Sniper
Know your enemy! Antibiotics are set to kill more of us than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined

We don’t see terrorists coming. We don’t see the dangers of antibiotics either – both of them set to nuke us when we least expect it.

A terrorist bomb might take out a city the size of Greater Manchester – thousands dead, hundreds of thousands more facing years of radiation sickness – like being dead before it actually happens.

Antibiotics are no prettier.

An invisible war

Because to the trillions and trillions of beneficial bacteria in our own gut, nukes are exactly what antibiotics are. Evil invaders who only want to destroy. Mass killers.

Imagine Greater Manchester, millions of times over. That’s what life is like down there in our insides, more bacteria than there are human cells. Reality is, we’re a harmonious, co-existing  miracle that’s 90% germs.

Now comes an oral dose of antibiotics – amoxicillin, say – prescribed for some troubling ailment, often unnecessarily. Trillions and trillions of microscopic but benevolent bacteria – versus 250 mg of devastating nuclear destruction.

A massive chunk of your gut, nuked to nothing.

You’re right. The medicine might clobber whatever the problem is – but the body will never return to exactly the way it was. Too many innocent bystanders caught in the fallout. Billions killed, vital diversity reduced. The system is not as strong as the way it was, no longer as all-round resilient.

Resistance movement

But there are survivors. Maybe a bit damaged, or not fully functioning – but wise to what antibiotics are capable of, and aware of what they need to do to escape. Next time, even more will endure. And even more after that.

Until the day comes that an antibiotic hits the gut, and our bacteria are impervious. Even to nukes.

Nothing happens.

Our bacteria have learned how to resist the drugs – even shared their survival skills with others, so all of them are immune. Antimicrobial resistance it’s called – AMR. Wish we could have the same resistance to terrorists.

Except big-scale calamities are not usually the way terrorists work, are they? 9/11 doesn’t happen every day.

More effective – and more insidious – are the little attacks that do. Happen every day, that is. Always there, never letting up, determined to bring us down, little by little. Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan theatre, Brussels airport.

The real killers

Exactly like antibiotics do.

Better believe it.

Because without our even thinking about it, we’re swallowing down antibiotics into our gut little by little with every meal.

In the milk with our corn flakes. In the oats for our porridge. In our bacon and eggs. In the chicken for our sandwich, and the lettuce with it. In the bangers and mash for tea, including in the baked beans.

Little hand grenades in our gut, or letting loose with a machine pistol. Nothing serious, but always damage. Little bits of us that suddenly aren’t working any more.

How is this possible?

We-he-hell.

Growth promoters

It all started back in 1946, when a researcher named Moore discovered the growth stimulation of antibiotics fed to chicks. A colleague named Jukes reached the same conclusion in 1952 – feed small amounts of antibiotics to livestock every day, and they bulk up like crazy.

Money, money, money. Fat, fatter, fattest.

And did we mention money?

Today, 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics are pumped into farm livestock every year.  Bigger, better, fatter than ever – and more of them. Enabling our own human world population to explode from 2½ billion in the 1950s, to 7½ billion now.

And of course, all these animals poo – excreting, would you believe, more than 75% of the nutrients they consume – including the antibiotics. “In 2002, 185 million swine sold in the US generated about 280 million tons of fresh manure; in 2006, chicken produced even more (460 million tons), while, in 2007, beef cattle produced 3.6 million tons of manure.”

Manure, huh?

Knee-deep in trouble

Used as fertiliser for all kinds of agricultural crops – fruit, veg, cereals, grains. And of course feedstuffs for livestock – so that farm animals re-eat the same antibiotics they ate before, with the same effect.

They keep getting fatter and fatter, growing faster and faster – and making more and more money.

Must be tough, being an antibiotics manufacturing company. 240,000 tonnes of stuff turned out by machine ka-chunk-ka-chunk, no effort, no investment – just keep rolling and take the money. No need to invest in new research, the goldmine is already working overtime.

Need proof? Just check your own waistline.

Bigger than it was, huh? You didn’t always wear a Size 16.

But look around, it’s not just you – this is a world-wide epidemic. Two-thirds of us are already way overweight or positively obese. All thanks to the same trigger that makes farm animals fat too – antibiotics.

Whatever food we ingest, antibiotics are in there somewhere. Directly in the food, or absorbed from manure-enriched soil, or leached through into our river systems so even the water we drink is spiked. Antibiotics pollution.

Too big for our own good

Result: obesity is a condition we’re all of us beginning to share – and no way is that healthy.

In fact it’s deadly.

Check the numbers and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – which means illnesses that cannot be treated by antibiotics – kills about 50,000 of us a year.

But obesity works like the terrorist’s nuclear bomb – wide-reaching, slow-acting, with extreme pain and suffering. The equivalent of radiation sickness – attacking our bodies in the form of diabetes, heart disease, cancer or worse – killing 30 million of us or more every year, and climbing all the time.

Yup – long-term, obesity is going to get most of us. Looking forward to 20 years of medicines, time off in bed, hospital visits, and feeling more and more unwell – more pressure on the NHS than any of us could ever imagine.

Two-thirds of adults – world-wide that’s around 3 billion people.  Which kinda makes deaths from AMR look like chicken-feed.

Worse than any terrorist, nuke or no nuke. Worse than any threat we’ve ever faced before – including plagues and world wars.

Is there a solution?

Stop, stop, stop

Short term, eat only organic or ocean fresh – and drink only rainwater.

Long term, STOP USING ANTIBIOTICS and find a replacement.

Anything less and we might as well nuke ourselves.

Picture Copyright: keeweeboy / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-06-06 13:31:26.

Antibiotics Armageddon. Are we too late for Plan B?

Survivor
Clean or else – we CAN survive germs if we learn to avoid them

Wait a minute, did we ever have a Plan B?

Because we’re at the point where antibiotics are beginning not to work any more – and modern medicine is going critical. Straighten up and fly right, or dire things will happen.

Yeah, but…

Out with the big guns

We’d better believe it. According to our top-level heavyweights, it’s time to get tough. With big-stick tactics for getting it wrong.

Like naughty GPs, prescribing antibiotics without verifying there’s a need. Or naughty farmers, dosing livestock with antibiotics, just to fatten them up.

Haven’t they heard of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)? Don’t they realise that they’re helping dangerous bacteria develop immunity to the drugs we treat them with? That superbugs will soon be untouchable and antibiotics will be useless?

Yeah, some Plan B. Not really a plan at all.

Ultimate survivors

Because it’s a fact of life that BACTERIA ALWAYS SURVIVE – and have done successfully for billions and billions of years. Which is why they’re possibly the most successful life-forms on the planet – able to withstand super-hot and super-cold, super-acid, super-dry, super-salty and super-pressure.

And we dare to think an itty-bitty antibiotic designed by humans is going to stop them.

Seriously?

Maybe hold them back for a few years, lulling us into a sense of false security.

Like hey, remember penicillin?

The original miracle wonder-drug. It saved lives for 12 years before the superbugs got wise to it. Staphylococcus in 1940 – cousin and relative of today’s superbug, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which itself took just 2 years to get in on the act.

But like we said, BACTERIA ALWAYS SURVIVE. They might take a few generations to do it – twenty minutes at a time – so for penicillin, that’s 315,360 generations. Zap – you can’t beat the numbers.

Because, surprise, surprise – among other skills, bacteria are actually able to “teach” each other immunity, passing on their resistance skills to even unrelated types

Yeah? And we think we’re so smart. Because while they’re doing it, the rest of our wonder-drugs store cupboard is rapidly emptying. We don’t wise up, do we?

Antibiotics: crashed and burned

Tetracycline lasted 9 years, until 1959; erythromycin 15 years; gentamycin 12 years; vancomycin 16 years; ceftazidime 2 years; levofloxacin not even 1 year; and ceftaroline the same.

And now colistin, our antibiotic of last resort – the one we turn to when all others have failed – can be resisted by bacteria too.

Get the message? The cupboard is bare.

Which means within our lifetime, without being able to control infection using antibiotics, even routine medical procedures such as caesarean births, hip replacements and heart bypasses will become impossible.

Which is why Lord Jim O’Neill, AMR Review chairman for the Prime Minister, insists that doctors should only issue antibiotics against medically verified proof that they are necessary.

Lord Jim also advocates that drug companies should be strong-armed into developing new antibiotics, to keep ahead of the rising tide of resistance, with cash money incentives if necessary.

Yeah, that would be good.

Mega-buck drugs companies

Especially when Lord Jim’s own review paper identifies that drug companies are currently producing up to 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics a year. Something must be wrong with their pricing structure if they can’t finance new product development out of volumes like that.

OK, so from Lord Jim’s perspective, unless we come up with an alternative, antibiotics will stop working altogether and we’re all going to die. Antibiotics Armageddon.

And that’s just for humans.

Except around 70% of antibiotics world-wide are used to support high intensity factory farming of animals – livestock for food production. 240,000 tonnes, remember?

Now ask yourself, so antibiotic resistance is dangerous to us humans, right? But the animals are only bred for food, their lifespans are very short, not really a problem, hey?

Wrong, big time.

Living hell

Those animals are farmed so intensively, antibiotics are essential to keeping them alive at all. Stressful, over- crowded quarters, unsanitary conditions – in astronomically unbelievable numbers now vital to support the three-fold population explosion of  humans since antibiotics were first discovered.

Food for 3 times as many humans – OFF THE SAME AVAILABLE LAND AREA – in just 50 years.

So what happens if antibiotic resistance hits the animals?

Well, exactly like us, they can’t survive either. Nor can they breed successfully to produce more.

Which very quickly means no more food, no more manure for intensive plant crops – a massive shortfall to bring famine to at least 5 billion people – the difference between the 2½ billion we were 50 years ago and the 7½ billion we are today.

Antibiotic damage

But hold on. Antibiotic resistance is only part of the problem.

Antibiotic damage is another.

You see, the big thing about antibiotics in food production is they fatten animals up fast. Four years of growth is telescoped into six months – which is how come farmers are able to feed 3 times as many humans – OFF THE SAME AVAILABLE LAND AREA in just 50 years.

And we eat those same animals, so we consume the same antibiotics they do in the food they provide – either directly through daily dosing feedstuffs, or picked up from their manure by plants fed to them as basic forage.

Uh huh. Which means we get fat too – the antibiotics do the same thing to us. Take a look around – yup, now you know why two thirds of all adults are overweight or obese.

Except our lifespans are not the same as theirs – two years and slaughtered, ready for market.

We go on for decades and decades. Getting fatter and fatter – coming down with all the ailments that obesity triggers – diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma. All of them massive killers, accounting for way more than the 50,000 a year in the US and UK who currently die of antibiotic-resistant superbugs – like close on 30 million.

You begin to get the picture?

Billions of deaths

Either directly or indirectly, our miracle wonder-drugs are going to be responsible for BILLIONS of deaths. And they are already doing it NOW.

A, we conk out now from some horrible resistant superbug. Or B, we take thirty years to die, getting worse every day from cancer or heart disease.

Thank you, antibiotics! Our killer lifesavers. Like smoking, only worse.

And bacteria are only one type of pathogenic microbes. AMR means antimicrobial resistance, right? All microbe types. So where’s our plan for viruses, fungi, archaea, protozoa, or algae?

Well the heck with Lord Jim, the best plan is right in our bathrooms.

Fighting back

Soap and water. To wash the bugs off our hands – their easiest way into our bodies – through the sensitive tissue of our eyes, nose and mouth.

Clean hands, no germs.

Kinda important when you consider that unconsciously, we touch our faces 2,000 – 3,000 times a day.

Clean hands, good.

Except now, don’t touch anything, because every single thing around us – including the air – is full of viruses and bacteria.

Shock, horror! At any second, we could be exposed to life-threatening pathogens that could be the end of us. Even a paper cut could lead to sepsis – and that’s the end of us.

Except we do have a second line of defence beyond soap and water – and pretty soon you’re going to see it in operation everywhere.

Ionised hydrogen peroxide. Misted up into the air from a mobile Hypersteriliser machine. A mild eco-friendly all-natural chemical – the body makes its own for germ-fighting – composed of only water and oxygen. Dynamically dispersed in all directions by electrostatic charge – the same charge that actively reaches out to grab viruses and bacteria, oxidising them to nothing.

No germs, the place is sterile.

No need for antibiotics, you’re not exposed to anything.

Prevention is better than cure.

Not exactly a Plan B, because it won’t fight infections already in the body – Lord Jim & Co need to focus on that.

But a helluva lot better than nothing.

Picture Copyright: ersler / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-05-25 12:23:04.

Worried what to do about antimicrobial resistance? Start at your supermarket

Trolley of pills
We’re part of the problem — everything we eat already has antibiotics in it

Trundle down the meat aisle at your local supermarket.

Just about anything you choose will have antibiotics in it.

Not a big dose, no more than a smidgen. But chances are high that they will be there.

Industrial abuse

Inevitable really. When you consider how much antibiotics are used by farmers around the world. Estimates vary from 65,000 to 240,000 tonnes. Set to grow around 70% by 2030.

All pumped into animals as part of their feed – deliberately added to make them grow faster. And bigger. Ready for market in a quarter of the time. A miracle side effect of antibiotics.

In fact antibiotics boost growth so much, the world can feed 5 billion more than 50 years ago. Three times more off the same land area – a money-making goldmine.

Which is how come we’re ingesting antibiotics too. And highly likely, antibiotic resistant bacteria with them. Superbugs that have grown immune to the wonder drugs being chucked at them. Untreatable, unstoppable and living in our own gut right now – ready to take us down at any sign of weakness. Or maybe already doing so.

Every little helps – a little too much

You see, it doesn’t take much to get antibiotics to boost growth. Much lower doses than curing an illness. Sub-therapeutic amounts that cost less and go further.

Uh huh. Doses too small to kill pathogenic bacteria completely. The hardy ones survive and become resistant. And it’s the resistant ones that breed, whole colonies immune to treatment.

Worse, bacteria have the ability to pass on their characteristics. They can teach others how to become immune too. In a few generations – which can be as soon as twenty minutes – a whole slew of other bacteria develop antimicrobial resistance, more and more and more. Equally untreatable, equally unstoppable.

And that’s what you’re buying when you visit the meat counter.  What you’re taking home to feed your family. So they ingest antibiotics-resistant bacteria too. Which maybe they’re strong enough to withstand, or maybe not.

So when the Doc diagnoses their illness and prescribes a particular antibiotic – absolutely nothing happens. Down in their gut, the bacteria laugh it off.

No escape for vegetarians

Don’t think that going vegetarian will help you much either.

Pretty well most plant crops are treated with antibiotics of some kind or other – to boost growth or reduce disease or both. And if that’s not enough, they’re probably fertilised by manure from animals that have been fed antibiotics anyway. The stuff is so fertile because most of them only digest 80-90% of what they eat, the rest is excreted as waste.

Super-grow wonder-poo laced with antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria both. Which is ingested by plants, fed back to animals in specially grown feed crops, leaches into the ground to enrich future crops – and runs off into our waterways to wind up in our taps.

Get the message?

Whatever you choose from the meat section – or poultry, or produce, or dairy, or even bakery, is almost certain to contain both resistant superbugs and traces of antibiotics.

All this and obesity too

If you don’t get ill immediately, your body may develop resistance to certain medicines in the future. And of course, since every mouthful doses you with proven growth boosters, there’s every chance that you will start getting fat – even though you work out like crazy, eat very modestly, and watch your health like a hawk.

But don’t go bashing your supermarket. Quite probably in the entire organisation, nobody will have any idea that superbugs are an issue, or that antibiotics are contained in almost all the foodstuff they sell.

What can you do?

Well, you don’t know whatever’s grown on the manure-chain, so even going organic might not help. Nor going 100% vegetarian. About the best will be to grow your own veg – and switch to ocean fresh fish, the kind that can’t be farmed. There may be other pollutants in there, but hey, we’re so careless about the whole planet, that’s inevitable. It can’t be as bad as the constant dosing we’ve all had up to now.

Global headache for medics

Makes you appreciate how worried the Docs are from the medical standpoint.

Seen today’s news? In Thailand they’re already talking about a “collapse of the modern medical system” staring us in the face. And our own Dr Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, is warning that with the drug companies reluctant to develop new antibiotics because there’s no money in it, then this is a problem that is for ever.

Yeah, well. Excuse us, Mr Moneybags Drug Company, but if you’re already producing 240,000 tonnes a year, how much profit do you need to make?

And when are we going to stop also being part of the problem, all by our little selves?

Here we are, worried to death about the abuse of antibiotics, and yet we demand 10 MILLION prescriptions a year are written for conditions where they’re absolutely useless.

Self-prescribing amateurs

We’re not doctors, so what do we know?

But that doesn’t stop us demanding antibiotics for colds and minor infections where they would actually do more harm than good. We kid ourselves we know best and put the strong-arm on the Doc – who caves in to the aggro, so that 97% of us get the unnecessary meds we’re hucking for. And if we can’t get it that way, we run off and buy it on the Internet.

Is this a death wish, or what?

One thing’s for certain, it’s we ourselves who have to take action. The global problem is so big, it may never be resolved in our lifetime.

Picture Copyright: cherezoff / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-05-12 13:57:36.

Why soap and water will soon be saving your life

Teddy in washer
So simple – soap and water is a lot easier than going to the Doc all the time

Count on it, in the very near future, your life will depend on soap and water.

They will be the only thing between you and certain death.

Good old lifesavers

So how you use them  – or whether you use them at all – is already a lot more critical than you might ever imagine.

Because in your lifetime – and sooner rather than later – our wonder-drug antibiotics will no longer work. Bacterial superbugs will have mutated to become totally resistant to them.

Which means – going back to the dark ages before penicillin was discovered – that no longer will we be protected from our own adventurousness, recklessness, clumsiness, or foolhardiness.

Our new killers

Overnight, almost everything and anything could be the death of us.

  • Eating meat — bacteria in meat is increasingly resistant to antibiotics and can kill us.
  • A cut or scratch — before penicillin, 1 in 9 skin infections killed.
  • Any surgical cut or incision — openings for even minor ops leave us open to infection.
  • Dialysis or blood transfusion — any open blood vessel is susceptible to sepsis.
  • Insect bites — especially the itchy ones, leading to infections from scratching.
  • Colds or flu — even mild infections cause pneumonia. Without antibiotics, 30% of cases kill.
  • Childbirth — which used to kill 5 mothers out of 1000, and more by Caesarean.
  • Any cannula, ventilator or catheter.
  • Surgical implants like artificial hips or pacemakers.
  • Burns of any kind —the most infection-prone type of wound.
  • Cosmetic surgery — without antibiotics, even Botox injections is no longer risk free.
  • Tattoos — even the slightest skin blemish is open to infection.

So if anything happens to us, anything physical that is, about the only thing we’ll be able to do is wash it clean with soap and water. And properly, not just waggling around under the tap. Because if we’re suddenly socked by bacteria threatening enough to need antibiotics and soap and water is our defence, we’ve got to relearn everything there is about proper hygiene.

And here’s why. Right now:

Make no mistake either, it’s ONLY soap and water that will do the job.

Why wipes wipe out

Antibacterial wipes are out of it – for the simple reason that bacteria are able to resist them too, as researchers at Cardiff University have recently demonstrated.  And if MRSA, clostridium difficile and acinetobacter are able develop antimicrobial resistance (AMR), so can others. Worse, the wipes transfer resistant bacteria from one place to another, SPREADING contamination further.

Antibacterial soap suffers the same defect.

Why?

The triclosan ingredient mostly widely used to deter bacteria is shown by the US Centers for Disease Control to be itself prone to AMR, to the extent that major manufacturers are voluntarily withdrawing it and hunting for alternatives.

How about antibacterial gel?

Same only different. The active ingredient is alcohol, which breaks down the proteins of bacteria and some viruses, but not all of them. And without antibiotics to protect us, we don’t want something which does half the job.

Low tech and easy

Which brings us back to soap and water. Low tech, yes, but maybe cleverer than we think.

For one thing, most bacteria are either harmless or benign. So although we’re surrounded by them, we don’t want to wash off all of them – some of our usually resident “citizens” might actually be doing us some good. Soap and water action lets us keep these guys, but gets rid of the toxic “tourists” who might be threatening us.

Yeah, so rediscovering hygiene is not exactly going to kill us. Quite the opposite.

And as we’ve probably heard endlessly from our grandmothers, a little soap and water never hurt anyone.

Picture Copyright: kalcutta / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-05-10 17:24:53.

Antibiotics in food: are major investors about to take a bath?

Serious business
Nobody has successfully sued for obesity yet – but antibiotics in food are a definite cause

Now the headlines start – ANTIBIOTICS IN FOOD.

Not panicky in the tabloids, but concerned in the financial pages. Not a lifestyle thing but a possible investment issue. Not a problem yet – but going to be.

Because for the first time, the City are taking note. Are they threatened? Are they about to take a bath?

Food safety in jeopardy

The short answer is, you bet. As soon as the penny drops.

As soon as the focus shifts from antimicrobial resistance and the rise of superbugs – to the much bigger problem of worldwide obesity and health degeneration – triggering a long-term epidemic of deaths from diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

A total train smash for the food industry.

Right now the alarm is that antibiotics used in farming are reaching through to the human food chain, increasing the risk of ingesting superbug bacteria – harmful pathogens that cannot be treated by antibiotics. Such alarm is justified – 25,000 people die in Europe each year from an antibiotic-resistant infection.

But the real issue is not even on the radar. Not with government, not with health organisations, not with food authorities or control bodies, nobody. A train smash is coming and you read it here first.

Because, yes, antibiotics are the crunch issue – but not from superbug resistance.

The body fatteners

The real crisis is the effect of antibiotics as super performance GROWTH PROMOTERS on the human body. The antibiotics in our food is making us obese – a problem 20 times more deadly than antimicrobial resistance. 400,000 deaths each year in the EU are directly linked to excess weight.

Closer to home, obesity is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths each year (6% of all deaths in the UK).  All driven by antibiotics.

Government won’t admit it of course. Nor the health experts, nor the food industry.

They’re all in denial.

Yet right there, in a review commissioned directly by the Prime MinisterAntimicrobials in Agriculture and the Environment – the presence of large quantities of antibiotics excreted by animals in manure and fertiliser used for crop and feedstuff production is acknowledged – alongside recognition that antibiotics are used widely as growth promoters.

Therefore they know, all the way to the top – that antibiotics are present in everything we eat. Picked up with nutrients in soil enriched with antibiotic-laden manure, the common denominator to high intensity farming for both produce and livestock. Meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, grain crops – all are boosted by “natural” manure.

Fatness is a killer

Just like farm animals, our growth is promoted too, in exactly the same way – the daily drip, drip, drip of sub-therapeutic antibiotics. Just like farm animals, we are getting fat – to the point that it is now a national calamity. More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese.

We eat too much without knowing why – antibiotics have glitched our systems so we can’t stop eating. Which means more than 2 in 3 adults are already a candidate for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other health risks associated with obesity – with staggering implications for the food industry.

  • The number of people living with diabetes in the UK has tipped over the 4 million mark.
  • Deaths from cancer in the UK in 2012 totalled 161,823.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death both in the UK and worldwide -responsible for more than 73,000 deaths in the UK each year.

Antibiotics are even in our water too. In one study, run-off in the Thames from manure-enriched soil was found to contain trimethoprim, oxytetracycline, ciprofloxacin, azithromycin, cefotaxime, doxycycline, sulfamethoxazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin, ofloxacin and norfloxacin.

So face it, in the not too distant future, you’re going to get fat too – if you’re not already.

Obesity lawsuits

Surprisingly though, as far as we know, nobody has ever successfully taken legal action because their food made them fat – yet.  But food companies are right to look at get-out options. With spiralling death rates, what food brand wants ANY kind of numbers on their corporate conscience?

Because antibiotics don’t just make you fat. They actually work by killing bacteria. And as we are only now starting to discover, the body is host to over 100 trillion bacteria in the gut alone – inextricably entwined with the digestion of food, production of proteins and regulation of the immune system. We meddle with these at our peril.

So it’s not just obesity. Any kind of damage to these bacteria can trigger other weaknesses or deficiencies, most obvious of which is allergies – the body chasing phantom ailments to its own detriment.

So yeah, count on it. Sooner or later, there’s going to be a stampede. Get rid of antibiotics – maybe get out of food altogether – into something safe, like knitting.

Because yes, antibiotics are there in our food – and not going away any time soon.

Picture Copyright: stocking / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-04-12 17:03:39.

AMR snatches gold from antibiotics – but good old silver always takes silver

Silver cup winner
Second best protection is better than no protection at all

Silver, huh?

Second-best at best. Not even close to antibiotics.

Yeah, but antibiotics are busy going phut.

Too much use, too many expectations, too many chances at getting away with things.

Superbugs are winning

Ask your Doc – AMR – antimicrobial resistance – is the big headache right now. You get injured or seriously ill, what the hell do medics do now?

Because the cupboard is bare – not from running out – from over-use, serious over-use – crikey Moses, agriculture alone round the world uses 65,000 tonnes of the stuff every year.

Mind you, the medical sector is not much better – around a quarter of all antibiotic prescriptions are placebo-type overkill or just plain unnecessary.

No, no, the big problem is that these one-time miracle drugs are beginning not to work any more. The superbugs they’re meant to kill refuse to roll over, dead.

Too smart, see? Immune. Mutated and adapted every generation – which can happen every few minutes – able to resist whatever we throw at them.

Ho, hum, did you feel a breeze just then?

End of the line?

Yeah, an empty cupboard. And no new antibiotics discovered since 1987. No profit in it with a one-off course of three tablets a day for a week. How about one a day, every day for life? THAT’S more like it!

OK, but we’re not dead yet. Antibiotics are still saving lives, still enabling medical experts to do amazing things – brain surgery, organ transplants, joint replacements – right down to C-sections births which are now 1 in 4.

The writing is on the wall though. And the day is fast arriving when our mind-blowing silver bullets run out of fizz. In fact the all-resistant bug – protected by the gene mcr-1 – is already here.

Time to call for back-up. Second best maybe, but better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.

Ancient reinforcements

Say hello to silver, an old friend from way back. 400 BC to be exact – and even then it was old hat – when Hippocrates (he of the doctors’ Hippocratic Oath) taught how to use it for healing wounds and controlling disease.

You’re right, silver is not in the same class as modern antibiotics. But it does have antibiotic qualities of its own.

Prolonged exposure to silver seems to clobber most pathogens eventually – slow perhaps, but effective. Which is why the rich would drink from silver cups and eat with silver cutlery. And why wounded soldiers 100 years ago had their sutures sewn with silver thread to reduce infection.

Their dressings were silver too – local application seemed to work better than internal dosing. And still today, you can get waterproof Elastoplast with antiseptic silver in the would pad.

There is even the possibility that silver could boost the performance of our sagging antibiotics – helping to overcome AMR and get some of their mojo back. Tests already show improvements up to 1,000 times better germ-killing power.

Better still, silver is not just antibacterial, it’s antifungal and antiviral as well.  And winners though they still are, antibiotics have never been able to take down viruses.

Thank you, No 2

Second best, yes. But definitely better than nothing.

Put that together with a new awareness of hygiene – necessity will force us to keep ourselves cleaner as the superbugs take over – and our medical future is not so desperate after all.

Given time, it could even get better. Researchers have found that silver interrupts a bacteria cell’s ability to form chemical bonds it needs for survival.

Not unlike what hydrogen peroxide does when misted up in a roomful of pathogens by a Hypersteriliser.

Hmm, no viruses, no bacteria – what’s not to like?

Picture Copyright: feedough / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-03 15:10:29.

Once ALL antibiotics go phut, what do we do?

Helpless doctor2
When the drugs don’t work and your system is down, better be seriously careful
with your hygiene

You take the pill, you swallow, it does absolutely nothing.

The Doc changes your meds, and gives you a shot.

Still nothing.

You’re going downhill fast and this bogey is gonna get you.

Miracle drugs failure

Because when antibiotics don’t work – and they’re beginning not to Big Time – there’s not a lot medicine is able to do.

Why DON’T they work?

Shoulda listened to the heavies when they warned us years ago.

Overuse of antibiotics has triggered an unstoppable wave of antimicrobial resistance – superbugs immune to whatever we throw at them. Already there are some that are resistant to ALL antibiotics. Soon that will be the norm. The cupboard is bare. No more miracle drugs to save us from expiry

As Sir Liam Donaldson – England’s Chief Medical Officer before our charismatic Dame Sally Davies – said back in March 2009, “Every antibiotic expected by a patient, every unnecessary prescription written by a doctor, every uncompleted course of antibiotics, and every inappropriate or unnecessary use in animals or agriculture is potentially signing a death warrant for a future patient.”

In other words STOP USING ANTIBIOTICS.

Not good if you’re already on the slippery slope.

But sound advice considering the damage that antibiotics have done.

Double-edged swords

Damage? Aren’t they supposed to be life-savers?

Once upon a time, yes. But that show left town.

You see, antibiotics work by killing bacteria. Which means round about now they’ve been killing bacteria inside our bodies for sixty-five years.

Not wrong, but oops!

We may not know it, but down in our gut, our bodies are home to several hundred trillion bacteria. They outnumber our human cells by more than 10:1 – and as we’re starting to learn more and more, they’re absolutely essential for our survival.

Because it seems they’re not just along for the ride, they do important things that affect our whole bodies. Like handle digestion, produce proteins, regulate our immune system – even shift our emotions and define our habits. And every single one of us has a unique combination of bacteria, as individual as fingerprints.

Plus this microbiota, as researchers call it, is not just any old bunch of bacteria. To keep us healthy it has as wide a diversity as possible – biological experience and instructions for protecting the body, keeping it in tune, and repelling invaders.

Yeah, so?

At war with our gut

For sixty-five years we’ve been throwing antibiotics at it – every time an atom bomb of killing in our gastrointestinal tract. Bad bacteria destroyed, yes – and a whole lot of beneficial ones as well.

Amazingly, our microbiota usually manages to recover. A bit wobbly maybe, to be expected with several million vital bits knocked out. Which kinda explains why it never QUITE gets back to normal.

Bad news for our kids, because they can only go with what we pass on to them. Assaulted by antibiotics on prescription maybe ten times by the time we’re sixteen.

And ALSO drip, drip every single day from the residual antibiotics we ingest from food – more and more and more – because antibiotics are a major growth promoter for livestock and plant crops, so farmers have used them on an industrial scale for the last sixty-five years.

Uh huh.

Which goes to explain why our bodies’ biodiversity is 30 per cent lower than it was 50 years ago. 30% less able to do all the things they used to be able to do, 30% less resilient, 30% more prone to infections and diseases.

Not helped at all by our lazy couch-potato lifestyle, our sugar-laden diet of processed convenience foods, or the fat we put on thanks to antibiotics bulking us up like pigs ready for market.

Yeah, so we get ill with something, bad enough to need an antibiotic – and the things don’t work. Plus our resistance is down 30% from where it should be. What the heck do we do now?

In the poo

Strangely enough, being in the crapper is one answer.

We’re in trouble because our microbiotas are under-powered, right? No miracle drugs to rescue us, and our internal bacteria are under fire.

OK, so first, send in reinforcements – healthy bacteria from someone who is perfectly hale and hearty. Backup and restore in the shape of a poo pill or poo transfer. Because believe it or not, FMT or faecal microbiota transplants are fast becoming an effective way to restore the gut imbalances that make us ill.

In the clear

Next, avoid getting ill in the first place. Steer clear of germs and get rid of them when they threaten.

Which means back to soap and water – washing our hands before and after every activity that could cause trouble – always before food, and always after the loo.

And keeping germs out of our indoor living space too – where we work, where we eat and sleep, where we get together. All easily neutralised with a Hypersteriliser – by a hydrogen peroxide mist that oxidises all viruses and bacteria to nothing on every surface and throughout the air – safe, sterile and secure.

Antibiotics?

Yeah, still a problem for major surgery where infection control is vital.

But for everyday living – as long as we’re careful, we don’t need them.

 

 

Originally posted 2016-01-20 14:57:24.

OK, scumbag norovirus, now the gloves are off

Aggro bizwoman
POW! Straight disciplined hand hygiene wins every time

So you’re the winter vomiting bug, huh?

Big deal.

Reckon we’re not wise to you, hanging out on ATMs, door handles, handrails and shopping trolleys? You and your mates, coronavirus – aka SARS and MERS – flu and staph?

OK, so we touch all of these things all the time anyway. Covered in germs like you.

Winter germ traps

So now it’s freezing cold and we’re wearing gloves, you’re trying to kid us that we don’t know you’re there.

Nice try, dirt-bag – but it won’t work.

Those gloves are getting the treatment with antibacterial wipes after every outing – then they’re coming off. Straight onto a desk or table to dry, so you guys don’t get a chance.

No breeding, right? This means you!

You know what happens then?

Yeah, you think we’re lulled into a false security, don’t you? The gloves are off, now we’re safe.

But the joke’s on you, germ-brain. We’re going to wash our hands straight away too. Handling gloves transfers you to our fingers – so it’s the big bye-bye, we’re giving you the wash-off.

And you know what?

Hands always clean

We’re giving our hands ANOTHER wash or the gel treatment before we put those gloves back on too.

Because, yeah, we know you hang about on surfaces and in the air indoors too – riding in on our clothing, or the bio-aura of personal bacteria we all carry with us.

Uh huh. So we know if there’s low-life germs like you on our hands when we put our gloves on, you’ll be waiting for us INSIDE next time too.

Not smart enough, bozo.

With near-sterile hands, the inside of our gloves stay near-sterile.

And count on it – with a BOLO always out for you and your kind at this time of the year – those gloves are going in the wash just as often as regular clothes.

Thought we’d forget, eh?

Just shove the gloves in our pocket and never think about them from one day to the next? Never wash them, never anything from one year to another. Unless we get yuck on them, lose one, or get a hole in the finger.

Scarves too, you think we’re stupid?

Or you think because we wear classy gloves to work or out on the town, we’re too scared to wash them because they’re made of suede or leather?

Wash and re-wash

Hoo boy, don’t you know we’re on to you?

Thanks to your other pals like MRSA, e.coli and the rest of the mob, we know our meds aren’t working as well as they used to. Antimicrobial resistance, it’s in all the papers. No-go antibiotics, yeah we know about them – why do you think we’re washing our hands every two seconds – because we’re OCD?

The Docs have been warning us for years us about hygiene standards with you lot around – that staying clean is now our best defence, like back in the old days.

And finally, FINALLY, we’re wising up – going back to the old way of doing things. Soap and water, rub and scrub.

Like cleaning leather gloves? Easy-peasy. Leather, silk, suede – we know how.

Even those super-warm Thinsulate gloves too.

AND scarves. AND turning out coat pockets – jackets, skirts, trousers, everything. Clean is the new cool.

Yeah, plus our timing is spot on as well.

Here comes the festive season with everyone anguishing over what gifts to buy…

For her, for him

BOOM! Extra gloves, extra scarves – so there’s always a pair to wear, a pair in the wash, a pair air-drying, and a pair waiting for next time.

And always clean hands to go inside them.

So you’re the famous norovirus. Well bully for you.

Yah, boo, sucks – the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Just because it’s winter, you can’t fool us any more.

The gloves are off.

 

Originally posted 2015-11-30 14:28:05.

How we’ll survive now antibiotics don’t work

Doctor washing
No more pills – from now on, everything gets done the hard way

Scary stuff this.

No safety net. Like driving on bald tyres.

Any accident, any surgery, any infection, any fever – we’re on our own. Either our immune systems will handle it, or they won’t. Game over.

End of the line

Because now there’s no more failsafe. No last second backup. Real Friday 13th.

No more silly buggers, the Doc can’t save you if your misadventure goes pear-shaped. The cupboard is empty.

Don’t believe it?

Already we’ve got MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – the scourge of every hospital and big bogey of AMR – antimicrobial resistance. This superbug lives naturally in your nose, for goodness sake.

Wipe your face, then touch a cut – and you’re up a gum tree.

Because methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, oxacillin – take any of them and the bug might get even stronger.

And MRSA is just one of our regular 9-to-5 infections. Other AMR stars appearing daily include salmonella, streptococcus, c.difficile, TB, gonorrhoea and e.coli. All of them can kill if we’re not careful – and that doesn’t include the heavy brigade like botulism or cholera.

Over-use and abuse

How did these bacteria get so smart?

Well, we’ve been chucking antibiotics at them on an industrial scale for more than 50 years – plenty of time to learn.

Sure thing, a lot of that is in medicine – we’re a growing cult of pill-poppers. These days the average teenager might be on a course of antibiotics say, five times a year.

Hypochondriac grown-ups are worse – or should that be “cyberchondriacs?” The Internet breeds self-diagnosing adults who demand antibiotics so strongly, there’s doctors and chemists who fear for life and limb.

But agriculture is the real villain. 65,000 tons a year and more to bulk up animals for market – beef, pork, mutton, poultry – right across the board. It’s in plants too –from “natural” recycled animal waste. Over-use big time.

Which also means like it or not – carnivore or vegetarian – we’re all on antibiotics already, absorbed through the food chain. And have been ALL OUR LIVES.

Always read the label, remember? Do not take continuously for more than ten days without consulting a physician.

What the heck, we’ve OD’d all our lives!

Living mutations

No wonder our metabolisms are so different from our grandparents’ – weaker, less resilient, more prone to allergies and minor ailments, ballooning to obesity. Our internal bacteria have mutated so much, we’re hardly the same kind of human beings.

Because if it takes only twenty minutes for a bacterium to adapt and evolve to a new generation, that’s around 438,000 mutations learning how to survive antibiotics since they were first used – they should have got it right by now.

So yeah, antibiotics don’t work any more. And since we’re surrounded by billions and billions of bacteria every second – even colonised inside by over 100 trillion – washing our hands is a start.

Wash ’em off so we don’t infect cuts or swallow anything nasty. Wash, wash, wash.

The sloppy hygiene factor

But there’s a problem, and it’s us.

We touch everything everywhere without thinking of these bacteria. From one second to the next, we never think we’re contaminated. Our hands LOOK clean, so we don’t bother.

Sure, we used to get away with it – the Doc back-stopping us with a load of wonder-drugs. But not any more.

So we’re already in big trouble. From our own sloppy hygiene.

It’s not just hands either. Bacteria are everywhere. On everything, under and behind everything, even inside us. And of course, floating through the air – lighter than smoke or specks of dust – swirling, trailing, riding the smallest breeze, all the way up to 30,000 – higher than Everest.

So as soon as our clean hands touch something, they’re contaminated again.

Repeat and repeat

Which means we’ve got to clean the things we touch. And KEEP CLEANING THEM – because the bacteria keep coming back. Wash, wipe, scrub, it’s a never-ending mission.

Even then, it’s not even half the job. Around 80% of any room we live in is air space to move around in – and there’s no wash, wipe, scrubbing answer for that.

We’re at hazard from each other’s bacteria too – because we’re not all the same. Most of us have weaknesses of some kind or other. So our personal biome – the trailing cloud of bacteria unique to each of us – is trapped and mingles in the air of our work space with everybody else’s.

Just by being together we can infect each other.

Unless of course, the whole place is misted up with a Hypersteriliser, oxidising all germs to nothing with hydrogen peroxide.

Not vaporised hydrogen peroxide either – too strong for safety and making everything wet.

Press the button when everybody’s gone for the night, and the mild 6% solution of hydrogen peroxide is IONISED from a microscopic spray into an electrically-charged gas plasma – a super-performing change of state that  releases even more antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone, and ultraviolet – every particle alive with energy to disperse everywhere and grab pathogens as they fly.

Forty minutes and the place is sterile. No viruses, no bacteria. Zero germs. Every surface safe. The air totally bio-neutral.

Safe till next time

Of course it starts all over again next morning.

As we all breeze in for the day, each trailing our bio-cloud with us – hands alive with bacteria from the steering wheel, the door handle, the ticket machine, the lift button and the loo seat. Er yes, but soap and water fixes most of that.

Wash, wash, wash – it’s our latest antibiotic – which in case you were wondering means “inhibits the growth of, or destroys, microorganisms.”

Phew! We made it.

Never mind that those antibio-whatsits don’t work any more. We know how to be safe.

Enjoy your day.

Originally posted 2015-11-13 13:29:00.

Wash your hands or die, the dawning reality

Concerned doctor
No more playing games –
hands that aren’t washed can kill you

A life and death issue.

Really?

It’s a joke, right?

Unless you’re on the receiving end.

Because you use your hands for everything, not so? You’re pretty well stuck without them.

Hands unprotected from germs

Which means they touch everything – good and bad – that is in our lives. And we do things with them almost without thinking.

Take bad. Dog poo on the carpet. Who knows what kind of germs could be lurking in there? Get rid of it, fast, before anyone winds up in hospital.

Uh, huh. Major health alert – we all know the drill:

  • wear latex gloves or hands inside a plastic bag
  • use paper towel to pick up with
  • use second bag to bin it
  • get more paper towel or cloth to clean carpet (plus bleach or detergent)
  • discard everything as waste
  • wash your hands thoroughly afterwards

Zero priority

Now take good. A double-header cone from the ice cream van – with flake and hundreds and thousands.

Probably straight grab and eat, right? Down the hatch before the van even leaves the street. Quite safe after the dog poo was washed off.

Slurp, slobber, enjoy – that was good.

OK, but how about the rest of the day?

Work, shopping, lunch, playing with the kids – easy stuff, no need to wash hands.

Simples.

Hang on a minute, how about before lunch? Don’t you wash your hands first?

The loo calls

And surely there must be a pee break or two- especially at the office, awash in coffee to keep you hyped up and on the ball?

Because most people don’t, you know – wash their hands before eating. Or wash their hands after going to the loo. And the rest of us are just a flicker under the tap – five seconds, gone.

Wash your hands? Sorry, I meant too.

Yet the dog poo was a whole major mission – so why does it get more attention than our own?

Fact is, however you finagle it, it is impossible – repeat, IMPOSSIBLE – to go to the loo without getting stuff on your hands. (Tweet this)

Worse, every flush creates a micro-spray of water mixed with yuck – too fine to see, but able to spread twenty feet or more. Spray and wee, spray and poo, nothing nice for anyone.

It gets worse

Plus of course, it’s not just your poo you have to worry about.

That posh-looking person in the three-piece suit just came back from Asia. Luckily no norovirus on the plane, but there were typhoid cases in the departure city.

Typhoid in the poo mist, highly contagious. A serious bacterial infection.

And if you don’t wash your hands, you could just be unlucky. Screaming high temperature, diarrhoea like you can’t believe, and yes, your bowel can actually split open.

Two weeks on antibiotics minimum. You could die if it’s bad – or find you’re no longer playing with a full deck. Worse than death if that’s possible. And all from not washing hands.

Far fetched? Panic stirring?

Have you checked how the medical people are getting worried about antibiotic resistance? Antimicrobial resistance (the other name for it) is No 1 on the radar for everybody from the government. on down. It’s when antibiotics DON’T WORK ANY MORE.

That means back to the Dark Ages – even the Prime Minister says so. You get an infection, you’re on your own because the medicines can no longer control it.

Which means it’s not norovirus – the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease, or campylobacter (the raw chicken chucker-upper), or any of the usual suspects we have to worry about.

The real killers

Rediscover Hygiene logoIt’s the long-haul killers from way back – the heavyweight diseases that antibiotics were designed to eliminate: smallpox, measles, Spanish flu, bubonic plague, AIDS, typhus.

Catch any of those without medicine that works – and you’re a goner.

But all preventable – or very much a reduced risk – if you always wash your hands.

We shouldn’t have to remind ourselves, but we do – our lives are so rush-rush, do-it-now, that hand hygiene is always forgotten.

So yes, a life and death issue – and it only takes one lapse to trigger it.

Don’t let it be too late before it dawns on us.

Originally posted 2015-06-01 12:27:42.