— Bob-a-job-alog-a-roonie


The other day I was watching Bright Star about poet Keats and his Fanny, and of course just like every other movie set back then, he coughed up some blood and knew it was all over. Tuberculosis was rampant historically, but thanks to antibiotics it has all but disappeared from western society.

Until now :( Like every other bug out there, it is developing strains resistant to antibiotics. So I’d like to go against the opinion of most conspiracy theorists and suggested our government(s) start vaccinating us.

There was a 30 per cent jump in Australian cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) from 2007 to 2009, while last year saw the nation record another rare case of even harder to kill XDR-TB.

Don’t let anyone cough on you!

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The more we use antibiotics, the less effective they will be. And when we feed them to livestock, and over-prescribe them, their life of usefulness decreases:

Wrongful or overuse of antibiotics has a perverse effect-causing the kinds of bacteria that these drugs can no longer destroy. The World Health Organization has cited antibiotic resistance as one of the three most serious public health threats of the 21st century.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that just in hospitals, where between 5 and 10 percent of all patients develop an infection, about 90,000 of these patients die each year as a result of their infection. This toll is up from 13,300 patient deaths in 1992. Some percentage of these people have problems because of antibiotic resistance.

Too many doctors still prescribe antibiotics for viral infections that should not be treated with antibiotics. They don’t work on viruses. These include, says Dr. Wolfe, “colds, flu-in the absence of bacterial complications, most coughs and bronchitis, sore throats (except those resulting from strep throat) and some ear infections.


Imagine your life, or your family’s life, when antibiotics no longer work. We will be back in the Victorian era, or beyond. People will die of things that we are ambivalent about today.

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Every year, 28.8 million pounds of antibiotics are given to US farm animals. That is according to the FDA, and means that farm animals are using 4x antibiotics than people are. The end result is that antibiotics will cease to work for us (because it all ends up in the water supply, and bugs get immune to it). So just think of all the times a doctor has prescribed antibiotics to you, and understand that in the future similar illnesses could easily kill you. But hey, we got to eat a lot of hamburgers :)

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At least the US Government does some good for the world – they seem to investigate and then ban some substances before the rest of the world does – and in doing so alerting us to the dangers. This time they are after some chemicals that appear in many cosmetic products. I’ve always avoided products labelled “antibacterial” unless it is for, like, a wound. They seem superfluous (given that you are cleaning anyway), and will almost certainly weaken your body’s immune system – children brought up in less-than-spotless homes get less sick – and who knows what the chemical itself will do to you…

Together, triclosan and triclocarban are widely used in antibacterial soaps, body washes, deodorants, lip glosses, dog shampoos, shave gels, and even toothpastes. They are found in brands as familiar as Colgate, Dial, Lever 2000, and Vaseline. Although they have been used for several decades for their antibacterial and antifungal properties, studies and even the FDA recognize that they are no more effective at preventing disease than regular soap and water. In other words, they serve two real purposes: allowing companies to market personal care products as “antibacterial,” and contaminating the waste stream (and, ultimately, the environment). More…

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Poor hygiene in hospitals, combined with the growing resistance to antibiotics of superbugs (primarily because we feed antibiotics to livestock), means that in the USA alone, 48,000 people die each year from infections and illnesses they did not have upon admission.

A new study just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that an alarming number of Americans are dying in the hospital from two infectious diseases: sepsis (also known as systemic inflammatory response syndrome, it causes widespread inflammation and blood clotting and can lead to organ failure and death) and pneumonia. But the victims of these health problems weren’t originally hospitalized because of these illnesses. Instead, they were in the hospital for other reasons. In fact, some were healthy and simply having an elective procedure. Yet they ended up dead.

Improved hygiene will be a partial remedy, that new initiatives are occurring worldwide. But the resistance problem will probably keep getting worse. I propose that, for those who can afford it, and care requirements do not depend on immediate response from medical staff, that in-home treatment is preferable.

With modern technology, vital signs etc can be monitored remotely. A nurse can visit daily to check on the patient. However, in-home surgery is impractical. My suggestion is that we decentralize operating theaters. Rather than having them in a hospital full of sick people, they should be located in each suburb. Thoroughly cleansed after each operation, and with no waiting rooms or wards, the contact with other sick people can be minimalized.

For people who need to be in a hospital, we need a system that splits up folk based on category. Those who are not infectious should be housed together (for example, plastic surgery, re-constructive surgery, broken bones, pregnancies), and those that are should be somewhere else. Ideally, a separate hospital should exist for each disease, so that those with swine flu are only housed with others with swine flu.

This would require a massive re-organization of our health systems, but if it is inevitable, perhaps sooner is better. Specialization should also apply to visiting your doctor. It’s getting beyond the joke that if you have a limp because you damaged your knee playing basketball, that you should first visit your GP, and then get referred to a specialist. For such obvious situations, direct access to a specialist is needed. If you’ve got the ‘flu, then you should visit a ‘flu clinic, not your GP.

BTW, all the old blog posts can be found here.

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