By W. Gifford-Jones, M.D.
What would it be like living in a world without antibiotics, where a simple infection could kill you? It could happen, as increasing numbers of bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. But there are ways to bypass antibiotics so this frightening scenario doesn’t occur. One herbal remedy, recently imported from Europe, can help to end the remark, “We know where you’re going!”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports 440,000 Americans are sickened every year due to eating or handling food contaminated with resistant bacteria. At least 2,000 of these people die from the infection. And over half of the antibiotics used are prescribed inappropriately!
In Canada, Public Health Authorities report that about 25 percent of Salmonella infections are resistant to antibiotics. It’s shocking that some super bugs outlive nine different antibiotics!
So what can doctors, and the rest of us, do to decrease antibiotic resistance? According to one study 20 percent of people who received a prescription antibiotic asked for it. It’s often a foolish request for a cold, sore throat, sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infection and the flu, which are due to viral not bacterial infection. It’s a waste of money because viral infections do not respond to antibiotics.
How many are aware that more than half the antibiotics used by humans are also fed to animals? Unbelievably, Health Canada allows antibiotics used for serious infections in humans to be sold “without a prescription for use in chickens, beef cattle and other animals”! The more antibiotics consumed, the greater the risk that bacterial resistance will occur.
Fortunately, some food chains are now serving poultry never given antibiotics. But it’s a hard sell to convince farmers to include cows and pigs. Why? Because they are more valuable, live longer and have to remain healthier longer.
Never forget that more frequent hand-washing with soap and water could significantly decrease infectious disease and reduce the need for antibiotics. However, authorities agree that the use of bacteria-fighting hand cleansers make sense in hospitals, but not in homes.
Barbara Murray, former president of the Infectious Disease Society of America told a U.S. House of Representatives Committee, “This summer I cared for two patients with diabetes and urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to a highly resistant strain of E Coli. Both had to be admitted to hospital for intravenous therapy because their infections were resistant to all oral antibiotics!” She added that “probably every woman by age 60 has had at least one UTI.”
Studies show that every year 30 to 50 million North American women suffer from UTIs, often due to resistant E coli bacteria. These result in repeated agonizing attacks. Now, a new natural herbal remedy, available in health food stores, called UTI E-Drops, can prevent and treat this infection. Like cranberries, they possess an anti-sticking factor that keeps E coli from adhering to the bladder wall. In addition, their antiseptic and antibacterial properties form a protective layer on the wall of the bladder to prevent further bacterial growth.
UTI E-Drops are highly absorbable, providing a low but effective dose. The usual oral dose is 40 drops added to a small amount of water three times a day. In addition, this remedy will eliminate the terror when infection causes blood in the urine.
Years ago, while studying at The Harvard Medical School, I arrived home one Christmas to find my father near death due to an undiagnosed ruptured appendix. Fortunately, penicillin, a new antibiotic, was smarter than bacteria. It saved my father’s life.
Fortunately, education decreases the use of antibiotics. Doctors, now given an hour of instruction in the proper use of antibiotics, has decreased their use in treating upper respiratory infections by 50 percent. And inappropriate use in treatment of sinus infections and pneumonia by a whopping 70 percent!
Shortly before I completed this column, I talked to a paraplegic patient who must use a catheter regularly to empty her bladder. This resulted in repeated infections in spite of five different antibiotics! She reported that use of UTI E-Drops resolved her dilemma.