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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Killing the Hospital Super Bugs

Again and again we have heard it, from medical journals, the media and even some doctors:  that antibiotics are being widely and wildly over used in Canada and the US.  Infections are becoming more difficult to cure, bacteria have turned into superbugs that are very quickly becoming antibiotic resistant, and what was once a simple "cold" is turning into weeks of convalescence. These Super Villans are called MRSAs (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). The media has published a few  news stories about hospital super bugs that are killing thousands of patients ... but for the most part it's a big hush hush: the skeleton in the closet.  No hospital or doctor really wants to admit when a patient dies from a complicated infection that they CAUGHT in the hospital. We go there to receive treatment and "get well", right? 

Recently though there have been news stories of hospital cover ups and false death certificates, as some medical professionals panic to cover up the truth and try to hide the real reason so many patients have died .... and to save their insurance premiums from sky rocketing no doubt.

But what are our hospitals doing to combat these Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Staph, or "SuperBug" infections ?  Ordering more antibiotics?  Apparently the fact that it is the rampant over use of antibiotics that created these monsters is lost on them... or they just keep hoping to come up with some "super antibiotic" to act as Kryptonite to the Superbugs.  Regardless, nothing they have done has helped and in fact the problem is growing exponentially all over the world..... or is it?

One small country has all but eradicated the MRSA infections that threatened their national population years ago and they did it without any kryptonian antibiotics.

Twenty-five years ago, Norwegians were also losing their lives to this bacteria. But Norway's public health system fought back with an aggressive program that made it the most infection-free country in the world. The key part of that program?  Severely cutting back on the use of antibiotics.

Norway's model is surprisingly straightforward.

• Norwegian doctors prescribe fewer antibiotics than any other country, so people do not have a chance to develop resistance to them.

• Patients with MRSA are isolated and medical staff who test positive stay at home.

• Doctors track each case of MRSA by its individual strain, interviewing patients about where they've been and who they've been with, testing anyone who has been in contact with them.

Norwegians have learned to tough it out through coughs and colds and fevers, resorting to non-medicinal treatments and giving their bodies the time to battle the bugs and beat them all by themselves.

Now a new group of studies are proving that Norway's amazing example can be copied with relatively ease, and public health experts are saying these deaths — 19,000 in the U.S. each year alone, more than from AIDS — are unnecessary.  It's time for the CDC to take it's head out of the sand and admit that  antibiotics will not stop the wave of MRSA's that threaten to flood our hospitals. Nor will it do anything to deter other threats to our health, such as many "old diseases" that have returned wearing capes with the power to resist  antibiotics.  New Super strains are appearing like Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the resistance to the drugs we've come so heavily to rely upon is scaring even the most stalwart doctors and scientists.

As parents it is natural for us to worry about our children, and nothing is so heartbreaking to a mother or father than to watch their child cry because of a sore throat or ear ache, or suffer through fevers & chills and aches & pains, from various viruses that circulate throughout the schools and society as a whole.  We WANT to make it better.  We would do anything to fix it "RIGHT NOW".... and so we rush off to the doctor's office, or local emergency ward, returning home with a script for antibiotics.  Hence the circle continues. But waiting around for the CDC, and other major health organizations to take the lead in making the vitally necessary changes in our health care may mean that many of us will be old and grey before they even admit to the problem.  We need to be the ones to start the changes OURSELVES.

Peaceful Parenting has written an article on reducing healthcare-associated (sometimes hospital-acquired) infections (HAI). Dr.momma says:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at any point in time, 1.4 million people worldwide suffer from infections acquired in hospitals. As birth advocates at, we know that newborns and their mothers are significantly more likely to suffer HAIs when birthed in a hospital setting than if they are birthed at home.
That's right people: Child Birth is 99% of the time NOT an emergency- so stay away from the hospital!!  If you birth your baby at home, not only will you have a much better birth, free from the stresses of a hospital environment and their policies, but you will also NOT get infected by one of these acronym laden infections!!  I gave birth in a hospital 4 times- and 3 of those times I came home sick sick sick and 2 of those times I ended up with a sick baby as well.  Stay at home!!!

Besides avoiding hospitals like the plague, there are many simple things you can do to protect your family:

-hand washing- yea yea yea, we've heard it a million times this winter during the flu season, but it really is true: washing your hands regularly with just soap and water reduces your chances of picking up contagious bacteria and viruses exponentially!
-Boosting your immune system with Vitamin D&C, probiotics, and eating a healthy diet and getting exercise
-Don't weaken your immune system by flooding it with "anti-bacterial" everything!! They don't work any better than regular soap and water and cause health problems and damage our environment!
-Staying clear of HOSPITALS!!!  Hospitals save lives, but are not the place to go if you have an upset tummy or suspect your child has an ear infection. Hospitals are for heart attacks and broken legs! If you have no choice but to go to the hospital, try to take precautions against picking up any unwanted super villains.
-Using natural ingredients to help get rid of that cold, and to also boost immunities- like honey, cinnamon, garlic- and using aromatherapy oils and simple vinegar to replace many of your cleaning products.

Be wise, be educated, and stay safe!!! And remember: There's no place like HOME!