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Rise of the Superbugs: How Antibiotics Are Killing Us

Rise of the Superbugs: How Antibiotics Are Killing Us

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:

superbugs, antibiotic-resistance

Infographic via Del-Immune

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Drugs, Food, Health, , , , , , ,

Image via Thinkstock

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Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.

62 comments

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11:39AM PDT on Apr 1, 2014

MRSA is not becoming nearly untreatable, since it has adapted to just about every antibiotic that has been thrown at it, and there is a new bug circulating in hospitals, especially, that most doctors acknowledge can kill within days and has NO KNOWN cure. Best bet, quit telling your doctor what you want. That's why they over-prescribe. They don't want "unhappy" patients being told they need to tough something out. And eat locally-raised and organic meats where you know they're not being dosed 24-7.

7:19AM PDT on Mar 26, 2014

I am amazed that doctors prescribe antibiotics in situations when they clearly are not indicated. I am also amazed that I personally know several people who do not complete the antibiotics they are prescribed; my understanding is that this actually can facilitate the strengthening of the bacterial strain.

4:47AM PDT on Mar 24, 2014

Ta

4:47AM PDT on Mar 24, 2014

Ta

3:19AM PDT on Mar 24, 2014

Thank you :)

10:18PM PDT on Mar 23, 2014

thanks

7:31PM PDT on Mar 23, 2014

Thanks for sharing

6:30PM PDT on Mar 22, 2014

TYFS

12:20PM PDT on Mar 21, 2014

Thank you!!

7:58AM PDT on Mar 21, 2014

I was given some antibiotics this very week.

They made me so sick.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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