Fighting Bacteria and Superbugs Naturally

Fighting Bacteria and Superbugs Naturally

Fighting Bacteria and Superbugs Naturally

News media stories about bacterial infections are everywhere these days, which can be very frightening. Many people have become so afraid of germs and bacteria that they are constantly using hand sanitizer, antibacterial soaps, and antiseptic cleaning agents.

While some bacteria can be very dangerous, it is important to note that most bacteria are harmless - even some strains of “bad” bacteria, like staphylococcus and E. coli. Many bacteria are actually beneficial to our bodies in the fight to keep us healthy.  For example, a harmless strain of E. coli lives in the gut and is a part of the healthy flora/probiotics we need to survive. Because of this, over-using antibacterial soaps, hand-sanitizers, and antibiotics can actually be harmful!

Superbugs, however, are the dangerous kind of bacteria that you definitely DON’T want.

What is a superbug?

Superbugs are bacteria such as staph, E. coli, salmonella and fungus that are resistant to multiple antibiotics or drugs. These bacteria can mutate and become life threatening when they enter the blood stream. Because of their resistance to drugs and antibiotics, these dangerous bacterial infections can be extremely difficult to treat.

How do superbugs spread?

Most often, these bacteria are picked up in hospitals and crowded places such as shelters and nursing homes for the elderly. They can be spread by nurses and care givers in contact with patients’ skin as well by improper handling and sterilization of equipment, through towels, sheets, handles, clothes and surfaces like books and magazines, etc.

Why should we be concerned?

Because of how difficult they are to treat, superbug infections are a surprisingly high cause of death. However, it is difficult to estimate exactly how many deaths are caused by superbugs each year. Neither hospitals nor governments have been closely keeping track. Officially, the count is around 20,000 per year in the United States but that estimate may be off by as many as 100,000.

Many pharmaceuticals designed to treat superbug infections can only be taken intravenously, which requires time in the hospital. Because of this, many strains of superbugs can converge in the hospital, making it a dangerous place to contract an infection. Most hospitals list cause of death as “death from complications from surgery, childbirth, accidents, etc.” instead of “bacterial infection.” The possibility of lawsuits and the time required for lab work to confirm infection keep hospitals from recording the true cause of death. There are only two states in the USA that require antibiotic resistant infection outbreaks and deaths to be reported.  We do know that deaths caused by Superbugs are now outnumbering deaths from AIDS each year in the USA alone.

The prevalence of superbugs

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Surgeon General and other world physicians reported, “the death of epidemic diseases due to antibiotics.” Unfortunately, they overlooked the fact that although penicillin was discovered in 1928, by 1929 numerous bacteria were already showing signs of immunity.  By 1995, 95% of staphylococcus aureus was resistant to penicillin.

Recently, the CBC’s marketplace found superbug bacteria in 54 hotel rooms from 6 major hotel chains across Canada. They also found superbugs in supermarket meat and chicken. There are now more than 18 drug resistant bacteria and fungal infections that the CDC of the USA label as of serious concern.  The World Health Organization (WHO) released a list of 12 dangerous bacteria this year and declared antibiotic resistance a serious threat to world health.

Why are superbug populations increasing?

    1. Over-prescription by doctors. People get sick, go to the doctor, and expect a quick remedy. Doctors prescribe antibiotics, which can kill all but the stronger, antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These resistant bacteria are then able to spread to other people.

    1. Overuse of antibiotics in the farming industry. Over half of all antibiotics used in the USA are fed to live stock. Farms are prime environments for the rapid development of antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations. Antibiotic resistance can then spread through the food chain, which means we can develop antibiotic resistance in our bodies from the food we eat.

    1. Difficulty and cost of developing new antibiotics. Pharmaceutical antibiotics take over 10 years to develop at a cost of over 1 billion dollars.  Funding for research is Within two years, many antibiotics become useless as the bacteria grow resistant so quickly. Because of these challenges, the number of large pharmaceutical companies formulating new antibiotics has declined to only TWO! However, the WHO has announced a plan to increase the number of antibiotics in development.

So what can we do about it?

    1. Start by only using antibiotics if you really need them. Norway’s government recently resolved to cut the use of antibiotics by 30%!

    1. Limit your use of man-made antibacterial and antiseptic products (learn how to make your own natural antiseptic spray)

    1. If you can afford to, switch to chicken and beef that is hormone and antibiotic free. When you eat mass produced meats, chicken, turkey and eggs from mega farms, you are getting hormones and antibiotics in your food making it likely that when you need antibiotics, they will not work. Places like Sweden, Norway and Denmark have returned to more humane farming practices, curtailing the use of drugs and pesticides with excellent results.

    1. Try and maintain a healthy immune system by eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables. Sickness is often a result of not getting enough nutrients - whether the lack of nutrients directly causes symptoms or results in a weak immune system that is less able to fight off infection.

    1. Avoid processed foods. They have limited nutrition.

    1. Try to stay away from genetically modified foods such as corn, soy, canola, tomatoes, etc.

    1. Take a good probiotic with no less than 45 billion CFUs to help you get the most nutritional value from the food you eat (and thereby strengthen your immune system, reducing a large variety of health issues). For extreme cases of eczema, we cannot recommend this enough.  It has made an unbelievable difference to Trish's health, acid reflux, and eczema break-outs.  My mom has had extreme IBS for 15 years and probiotics have helped this tremendously as well.  We recommend Naka Professional PRO PB7 to many of our clients with skin issues, etc.

    1. Try alternative medicine. Plants and essential oils have many proven antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic components. Due to the lack of new antibiotics, plants may be our best and greatest hope against bacteria. Plants are a mix of complex chemistry made up of sulfur compounds, amino acids and more. When taking an herb or plant, you are actually ingesting multiple different medicines all working synergistically. Yarrow, a healing herb, contains over 120 different compounds.  Compare this to penicillin, which contains one: penicillin. When faced with such a complex mix of compounds, a bacteria has virtually no chance of ever figuring out how to resist the forces of a plant. A quick search for scientific studies on Google Scholar reveals a plethora of work establishing the complex diversity and effects of plants against all forms of viruses and bacteria.

Essential oils that fight bacteria

I am a firm believer in the use of essential oils for alternative medicine. I have researched each and every essential oil that we sell and have learned so much about their healing properties.

A new essential oil blend that I like for killing bacteria is Auntie Septic - a blend with essential oils known to kill bacteria, like Oregano and Lemon Eucalyptus (among others).  I use it to clean out coolers and fridges, microwaves, stoves, countertops and cutting boards.  It’s also great for kids’ toys, diaper areas and change tables,  camping equipment and especially bathrooms. You can even add a couple drops to your laundry detergent. Easy to use, easy to mix. Check out the studies listed on the Auntie Septic page or do some of your own research on Google Scholar.

Trish and I have also had really good results with our 4 Thieves essential oil blend for our immune systems during our very long trade show season.  Trish started using it two years ago and sailed through the season, not getting sick once.  I, on the other hand, was sick for 6 weeks afterwards.  This last year, I followed Trish’s lead and used the 4 Thieves Rub every night after a trade show on my chest and feet.  It has now been 11 months since the last time I was sick with the flu or cold.  I have a weakened respiratory system from having pneumonia several times when I was young. Since I was a child, I would get sick at least 3 times a year for a minimum of 3-4 weeks at a time.  Having such a long stint without getting sick (11 months and counting!) has been a major improvement for me.

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