Life in a Post-Antibiotic Age
November 16th, 2012
by Doug McIntosh
It is coming; indeed, it is already here. It is a lethal strain of bacteria beyond the ability of modern antibiotics to treat. We see news stories of untreatable bacteria in hospitals, schools, cruise ships, hotels, and in our daily lives. We can do nothing about this, but we can devise new methods of treatment if we are to survive. We must rethink modern medicine if we are to live through the post-antibiotic age we now are living in.
Antibiotics themselves are a new treatment first begun with the creation of Penicillin in the 1940s from bread mold. The theory of bacteria only dates back to Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister in the 1860s. The concept of antiseptic technique, aseptic technique, is even newer. The simple idea of medical providers washing their hands; creating a sterile atmosphere is one of the great medicinal advances of all time. Aseptic technique has saved more lives than all the drugs and modern medical treatments combined.
If you think back to an 1860 American Civil War scene, with filthy surgeon, unwashed hands, unwashed surgical tools, and a not germ-free operating room, you get my idea. Fortunately, whatever collapse comes our way we need not lose the knowledge of sterile techniques and medical practices. What we will lose is the ability to treat bacteria with antibiotics.
We have lost that ability because we have over used them for things they were never intended for. We have fed them to our farm animals, and eaten our way into immunity in our bodies. The result of all that is we are now living in a post-antibiotic age. We must think and act since this is the new medical reality. We are now starting to die from bacterial infections that were easily treated a few years ago.
We will have to use the methods common to the era before antibiotics were available. We will have to use garlic, and its chemical called allicin. Garlic contains a natural antibiotic and antiviral agent along with its odor. Well, it is better to stink, than to die. In fact, garlic was called â€śRussian penicillinâ€ť during World War Two. Garlic was only replaced in Russia when large amounts of penicillin were delivered by the Allies. We know garlic works against bacteria. The real reason modern medicine doesnâ€™t like it is simple: the drug companies donâ€™t make a profit off of garlic.
We will have to eat garlic cloves when respiratory ailments strike us. We will have to crush garlic and use the paste to treat open sores and cuts. If we do not, we will die from blood poisoning. We will also have to eat a clove or two of garlic every day to maintain health. When Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, they were stunned to find how healthy the people were. The reason people who had no access to modern health care, or a decent diet, were was they ate garlic cloves every day of their lives. Garlic may also play a role in why the French are in such good shape.
We will have to mix Tabasco Sauce with water and drink it for sore throats. We will have to eat red peppers and avail ourselves of their healing properties. Yes, Virginia the hot part of hot peppers is lethal to bacteria and viruses.
One of the most overused areas of antibiotic use is for childrenâ€™s ear infections. We will have to learn how to dip a swab into rubbing alcohol and treat it that way. We will have to use rubbing alcohol to kill bacteria by physically drying them out. We will learn to do these things, or when the final antibiotic currently in use fails we will be left at the mercy of germs.
We can use Listerine to sterilize things, for instance. Joseph Lister invented Listerine to be sprayed in operating rooms to sterilize them. We may very well end up being reduced to that. We can boil water to sterilize things. We can do all the things people did before antibiotics existed. We may very well have to abandon keeping people in hospital rooms that cannot be kept clean. The rise of MRSA bacteria in hospitals means that having a patient stay at home, and in a room that can be sterilized, will become the new norm. I will predict that in a short while mass treatment of people in hospitals will collapse under the weight of deadly and untreatable bacteria. Indeed, we may very soon see the day when certain medical buildings are completely abandoned because they are now permanently infected with lethal bacteria.
And finally, we will have to rethink our concepts of current medicine and how it treats us. Modern western medicine treats either the symptoms, or the disease itself. We must learn what Eastern medicine has long known; namely, the body is the best medicine. We must relearn the concept that it is the body that heals us. We must relearn the concept that if we take care of the human body, it will take care of us. It is a matter of maintaining the natural defense systems built into the human body.
You may think of it as water lapping against a dyke protecting lower ground. Western medicine concentrates on the water, but we must learn to keep our eyes on the dyke. I think the new medicine that will arise out of the ashes will be one of the holistic belief and treatment methods. It will understand the true point of medicine is to allow the body to keep us well. We will have learned medical wisdom is about keeping the body in peak defensive shape.
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