While the antibiotic era has been a godsend for many people who otherwise would have died from easily treatable infections, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics has led to the creation of suberbugs, bacteria that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotic medications. Those superbugs are incredibly difficult to control and eradicate, and wreak havoc on the immunocompromised, particularly elderly and infirm hospital patients. If they get too strong they could even bring about the end of the antibiotic era.
But superbugs may also develop through other means than just antibiotic overuse, as indeed may be the case with the new superfungus Candida auris. Candida auris is a yeast from the Candida genus and is one of the few Candida species that can cause candidiasis in human beings. It is a relative newcomer to the scene, and few diagnostic tests have even been able to properly identify C. auris until recently. But what is particularly noteworthy about it is that it is resistant to numerous fungicides and medications.
C. auris infections have occurred around the world, leading to numerous deaths. In fact, most people infected with the yeast will end up dying. It is widely speculated that C. auris developed its drug-resistance due to the overuse of fungicides in commercial agriculture. From there the drug-resistant yeast spread until it eventually entered hospital environments, where it is often nearly impossible to kill. Infected rooms have often had to have walls, floors, and furniture disposed of in order to rid them of C. auris.
While C. auris is most dangerous to those who have compromised immune systems or are suffering from other ailments, there are some common sense measures that everyone can and should take to prevent infection with superbugs and to prevent their development in the future.
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. That’s a common sense measure that many people today forget. And no, using hand sanitizer alone doesn’t cut it. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, after touching surfaces that have come into contact with numerous people such as door handles, touchscreens, and shopping carts, and especially after coming into contact with people who are ill. And always wash your hands before and after handling babies and small children.
Don’t overuse or misuse antibiotics. There are times when antibiotics are vitally necessary to counter infection, in which case make sure that you use them for the full cycle. Cutting antibiotic use short is part of what leads to drug-resistant bacteria.
Finally, take care of your health. Take plenty of vitamin C and D, make sure you get plenty of sleep and exercise, and eat plenty of healthy food. Prevention is always the best cure, and by making sure that you stay healthy you can do a great deal to keep yourself from getting to the point at which a superbug infection is even possible.