They may be a place of recovery, but the reality is: hospitals are havens for bacteria. It is more alarming to know that the rates of super bugs, like Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), are rising by the minute. According to statistics, people who are infected with MRSA get it from healthcare facilities.
Here are several studies showing this, as well as the rapid spread of germs in hospitals and healthcare areas:
- In 2011, a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control revealed that 60 percent of healthcare workers’ uniforms contained dangerous germs that contribute to problems, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and drug-resistant bacterial infections such as MRSA. The study also suggests that these uniforms made it easy for pathogens to reach patients. (link)
- In another 2011 study, it was showed that MRSA as well as other pathogenic bacteria were found on privacy curtains in hospitals and clinics. (link)
- A study from 2009 proved that pathogenic microorganisms can survive on paper used in clinical settings, such as on penicillin scripts. (link)
- A 2009 study involving nursing homes in the United Kingdom discovered that 24 percent of the residents and seven percent of the staff members carried MRSA virus on their skin and clothes. Despite this, there were no signs of infection. (link)
These super bugs are continuously adapting. They can now be found in other places and in the livestock that ends up as your food.
Super Bugs Can Be Found in Animals Now
MRSA is a dangerous strain of super bacteria formed due to the resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics that were used to treat it, such as methicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, amoxicillin, and so forth. In the past, MRSA was found in hospital environments. Now, it can be seen in other public locations, such as gyms, locker rooms, and even schools.
Experts have recently discovered a new strain of MRSA in livestock. It is said that this new strain developed due to the use of antibiotics in the livestock industry. In the United States, 70 percent of antibiotic use can be found in concentrated animal feedlot operations (CAFOs). Animals are fed antibiotics in low doses for them to grow faster and to prevent disease.
The danger here is that the new MRSA strain can also infect humans. Because of this new threat, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to require a prescription from a veterinarian before antibiotics can be used.
While this new regulation is still in the works, other countries have adopted a healthier and safer approach to raising animals. After the ban of antibiotic use in the pork industry 12 years ago, a Danish study revealed that there was a drop in antibiotic-resistant species in their livestock and food.
Dr. Joseph Mercola believes that it is best to support local farms that do not employ the use of antibiotics in raising their animals. These farmers let their animals graze on natural grasses, their natural habitat.
The Most Effective Way to Fight Disease-Causing Bacteria
Microbes are all around us for millions of years and will remain around us for thousands more. They can transfer from one person to the other and reside in objects you touch every single day, like ATM machines, escalator handrails, faucets and sink drains, toothbrushes, and many others.
At the same time, they evolve just like humans and animals do. But you do not have to worry. Dr. Mercola says that as long as you have a robust immune system, you’re fully protected against disease-causing germs.
Dr. Mercola adds, “And many of these microorganisms are beneficial—even the pathological ones. Some microbial exposure actually makes you stronger by ‘training’ your immune system to react appropriately, especially when the exposure occurs in childhood. This concept is known as the ‘hygiene hypothesis.’”
Scientists have discovered that living in overly sterile environments is associated with depression, increased inflammation, heart problems, asthma, allergies, and eczema.
Always remember that your skin is your first line of defense. To protect it from microbes, you should avoid using any cleansing agents with antibacterial properties, especially those that contain triclosan and triclocarban chemicals. These can sprout resistant bacteria and even disrupt your hormones.
Dr. Mercola says that if you must use hand sanitizers, make sure that they are infused with plant-based ingredients, like rice bran extract, aloe vera, chamomile, and tea tree oil.
Rather than using these products, you can always opt for the most basic defense: washing your hands with plain soap and water. Here are guidelines to proper hand washing from Dr. Mercola:
- Always use warm water and a mild non-antibacterial soap for washing.
- Lather all the way up to your wrists for about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, as well as around and below your fingernails.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- When opening doors in public areas, use a paper towel for protection.
How to Fortify Your Defenses from Within
Apart from protecting yourself on the outside, Dr. Mercola lists some ways to defend yourself internally. You can build up your immune system by:
- Managing your stress – It is proven that people who have unresolved conflicts are more prone to adverse health risks.
- Optimizing your vitamin D levels – The best way to do so is through sunlight exposure. You may also do this by using a safe tanning bed or taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement.
- Drinking plenty of water and adhering to a proper diet – You can learn more about foods that are best for your body by reading Dr. Mercola’s Nutritional Plan.
- Regulating your insulin and leptin levels.
- Eliminating sugar (especially fructose) and grains from your diet.
- Avoiding processed foods, chemical additives, artificial sweeteners, MSG, and genetically engineered foods.
- Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement to promote digestive health.
- Exercising at least three to five times a week.
- Getting enough sleep every night.