In our previous post which you can read here we discussed the lack of new antibiotics being developed, it makes sense then that we should prolong the usefulness and effectiveness of our existing antibiotics by only using them when absolutely needed. So what is the best way of avoiding the need to use antibiotics? Well the answer is to never get sick! That however is slightly unrealistic as we all get sick at some point, so the best we can do is limit the amount we get sick and therefore the need to take antibiotics. Prevention rather than treatment!
Prevention from bacterial infection begins with sanitation. By keeping a clean living environment and maintaining personal hygiene you can drastically reduce the amounts of harmful bacteria in your home and upon yourself. Wash your hands regularly with warm water (avoid using antibacterial soaps as these contribute to bacterial resistance – more on this soon) and avoid unnecessary contact with unhygienic hotspots around your home such as the garbage, sinks, taps, toilets and door handles, essentially areas that are contacted often and have conditions conducive to growing bacteria (wet and warm).
A particular area of illness prevention surrounds food; particularly what types you eat and how you prepare it. Food is not only being eaten by you, bacteria also use it as a food source! Your food is actually covered in bacteria, they generally won’t harm you however unless you incorrectly prepare it. By leaving food unrefrigerated or not cooking it thoroughly you are allowing the bacteria to multiply which can cause you harm.
Your diet plays a large part in your general health and your ability to prevent bacterial infections. Having a poor diet can weaken your immune system allowing small infections, that would normally be destroyed without you even knowing, to become major illnesses. A poor diet essentially acts as an immunosuppressant impacting the ability of the immune system to do its job. Other immunosuppresants that should be avoided include cigarette smoke, prolonged stress, excessive alcohol, insomnia and sleep deprivation, lack of exercise and AIDS.
So preventing bacterial infections should be the primary method of avoiding antibiotics, but what happens if you’re seriously ill and antibiotics aren’t working? Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will be discussing alternative treatments.
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