Saturday, August 13, 2011

August 13: News and a Rant

Today my neutrophil count is 210, which is only disappointing because the doctor suggested it might be at 300 today.

Ah, well. Forward is forward. I'll make it out of here in God's time, I'm sure.

A Rant About Antibiotics and Complete Stupidity

So today I read an article on antibiotic use in turkey farms.

This is a Scientific American article, not some environmental magazine.

According to the article, 84%—EIGHTY-FOUR PERCENT—of the type of bacteria they tested are resistant to multiple antibiotics in poultry farms.

This happens because of the "prophylactic" use of antibiotics. That means they are using antibiotics "just in case," as a preventative measure. Ongoing use of antibiotics in that manner ALWAYS produces super bugs, bacteria that are highly resistant to antibiotics and thus highly dangerous.

As I write this, I'm hooked to an antibiotic IV because chemotherapy has destroyed my body's ability to fight bacteria (though that 210 neutrophil count I mentioned above is a small step towards my immune system returning). The doctors hooked me to that antibiotic because I got a blood infection. The antibiotics fought the infection because my body couldn't.

Can you imagine what would have happened if that infection was from bacteria that are resistant to most known antibiotics? Don't imagine. I'll tell you. I'd be dead or close to dead already.

Everyone knows that the widespread use of antibiotics creates such super bugs, but almost no one is doing anything about it.

Do you use an antibacterial soap in your bathroom? Yes, that's correct. You're not protecting yourself or your kids from anything. You are simply helping us grow super bugs, both on your skin by washing with antibiotics and throughout our society by dumping the antibiotics into the sewer system.

Here's how things work. There are very few medicines that kill all the offending microbes. The medicines just kill most, knocking whatever disease or infection you have down to a level that your immune system can handle. Your body then takes care of the rest.

The microbes that survive the medicine are those very few that are immune to the medicine. If you do that occasionally, that's no big deal because our immune systems or nature take care of those few antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

But if you do that all the time, those antibiotic-resistant bacteria begin to proliferate.

You're helping with that when you buy those antibiotic hand soaps, and poultry and livestock farms help with that when they give antibiotics to their animals as a matter of course for "prophylactic" purposes.

In San Francisco, a law was passed banning toys in Happy Meals at McDonald's in an attempt to stop kids from eating too many french fries. McDonald's, worried about their bottom line, has begun doing things like offering apple slices with their Happy Meals.

Personally, in public matters like that, I think education works better than legislation. Look how effective education has been with smoking! What was cool in the 60's and 70's is now looked down upon everywhere.

But things like the overuse of antibiotics in those awful stockyards and poultry farms, where conditions are so deplorable that there's hardly an American alive that isn't horrified when they hear about it? People don't know, and they don't have much way of knowing. It is there that legislation ought to be occurring.

Currently, legislation is directed at making sure those super bugs don't make it all the way to the consumer, but no legislation is directed at preventing the conditions that create the super bugs.

That seems both stupid and immoral to me.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of people you don't know would like to read this post. You should add tags or something. Great rant!