Every time I look at my social media feeds, it seems like another friend or acquaintance has come down with a nasty case of “the sick.” Episodes of cold and flu that used to run their course in a couple days have turned into multi-week episodes. Entire families are biting the dust at once, sometimes enduring multiple antibiotic phases of antibiotics before finding relief.
It’s hard to say exactly why we’re suddenly hearing horror stories of people going into the hospitable for a relatively minor problem and coming out with an “untreatable” and potentially lethal infection. But if you ask experts, like those at the Centers for Disease Control, it’s because relatively harmless bacteria are morphing into superbugs right before our eyes. And what radioactive juice is fueling this transformation? The antibiotics themselves.
When bacterial infections are exposed to antibiotics they can learn how to outsmart them,” writes Care2′s Michelle Schoffro Cook. “These resistant bacteria can multiply causing serious infections. Once the bacteria discover how to outsmart the drug, they actually share genetic information with other bacteria to assist them in becoming antibiotic resistant as well.”
The obvious answer to the rise of the superbugs seems to be to cut off the supply of antibiotics, but that’s easier said than done. Sure, doctors overprescribe immune-destroying antibiotics for sore throats and colds that the body could probably fight off on its own. But that’s only part of the problem. The real issue is antibiotics hidden elsewhere. Like in our food. “80 percent of antibiotics are taken by animals who aren’t even sick, and who are then slaughtered for human food,” explains Care2′s Piper Hoffman.
The result is a villainous team of super bacteria that scoffs at the typical antibiotic treatments, putting all of us at risk for life-threatening disease. Learn more in the infographic below:
Infographic via Del-Immune
Image via Thinkstock