The CDC is ringing the alarm bells after a number of so-called superbugs have now been reported in at least 42 states.
The CDC is currently investigating an alarming outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae — or CRE — that has infected 44 people in Illinois over the last year. While that number may seem small, how the disease is clustered, and the fact that similar pockets are showing up throughout the country has the CDC and other medical professionals very worried.
Another troubling trend, one that could have dire consequences, is how CRE and a number of other superbugs, bacteria that have become resistant to even the strongest antibiotics, can share its resistance genes with other bacteria. If these bacteria start sharing that resistance with common bacteria like as Strep and E.coli, we could be in for a world of hurt.
Once easily treated conditions could become entirely untreatable – turning things like urinary tract infections, sinus infections, and even diarrhea into a potentially fatal condition.
Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told USA Today that he believes we have only a narrow “window of opportunity” to act before these superbugs become unstoppable.
Unfortunately, there’s very little financial incentive for the drug companies to develop new antibiotics, and there are very few new treatments being developed.
Pandemics & Superbugs: One of the top threats we face.
We’ve covered similar topics in the past, mainly because I believe the threat of a deadly pandemic outbreak is on the top threats we face. The way we work, travel, and even buy our food has left us incredibly susceptible to outbreaks; and in my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before we see another pandemic.
But unlike past pandemics, I think the next deadly outbreak will be far worse than anything we’ve ever seen, particularly because of how connected the world has become. Diseases that were once able to burn themselves out, because populations stayed relatively close to home, can now be spread anywhere in the world within a matter of hours.
What can you do to prevent Superbugs & Pandemics?
- Strengthen your Immune System: In my opinion, one of the best things you can do to prevent any type of disease, is to give your body the tools it needs to fight them itself. Working out, eating healthy, and living a stress-free lifestyle can all do wonders for your body’s ability to ward of disease.
- Multi-Vitamins: Over the last couple weeks vitamins have got some pretty bad press. You can choose to believe studies that are paid for by the drug companies, or you can listen to years’ worth of solid research that shows your body needs these vitamins to stay at peak operating condition. I’ll do a longer article on this topic in the future, but to start with you should at least consider taking a multivitamin and make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of Vitamin C.
- Hygiene – Just like you mom told you, make sure you’re washing your hands. It’s still the number one thing you can do to prevent the spread and transmission of pretty much every pathogen out there.
- Social Distancing – Common sense should tell you to stay away from anyone who’s sick. Unfortunately, society seems to be lacking that these days, as I can’t tell you how many time I’ve seen some idiot hacking his brains out in a line full of people who just stand there smiling.
- Hand sanitizer – Keep it with you, and use it. Look for something with around 70% alcohol, as this amount will kill 99.9% of all germs.
A note about hospitals:
If you’re sick, then by all means you probably need to consult with a medical professional for medical advice. That being said, during a pandemic outbreak hospitals are going to be ground zero in the war, and should be avoided if at all possible.
A recent tuberculosis outbreak in a Nevada hospital shows just how negligent some hospitals have become. A hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada allowed a pregnant woman who was exhibiting TB symptoms to be placed in a neonatal unit without informing or protecting other patients. 59 people were infected with TB, and another 1,000 are being tested.
Don’t ever assume the hospital knows what they’re doing, you need to take your own precautions and be mindful of your own safety.
- Ask for a mask upon entry into the hospital.
- Don’t be scared to ask the doctor to wash his hands, or put on a new pair of gloves.
- If you’re put in a room, or near someone who is exhibiting respiratory symptoms ask to be moved.
- Always keep an eye on what’s going on around you. Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor or nurse questions.
- If something seems dirty, don’t accept it. Don’t be scared to ask for the doctor to switch out instruments which you think might have been used on someone else.