Flu season has arrived! While autumn is an exciting season that brings people together for holidays and community events, it’s also the time of year when colds, the flu, and upper respiratory infections (URIs) begin to spread. The presence of illness-inducing bacteria can also lead to something very scary: superbugs. Though they sound like creatures from a horror movie, superbugs are very real and increasingly common. They also pose a major threat to your health, potentially rendering routine antibiotics totally obsolete. But what are superbugs? More importantly, how can you avoid them?
What Are Superbugs?
According to the Mayo Clinic, superbugs are strains of bacteria that resist most of the antibiotics available to today’s doctors. As bacteria adapt to antibiotics, they may turn into superbugs. Because bacteria can adapt to defeat drugs designed to kill them, they tend to evolve into powerful bugs as a survival technique. Doctors fear that eventually superbugs will resist all of today’s antibiotics, making it extremely challenging to treat everyday illnesses and potentially leading to untreatable epidemics. That’s scary, but also a real possibility.
It’s important to note, however, that superbugs are only “super” (i.e., difficult to kill) once they are inside a person, which is why new and more powerful antibiotics are having to be developed. When outside the human body (on door knobs, school desks, public floors, etc.), these “super” germs are actually very fragile and easy to kill with a household disinfectant or even a germ fogger. So the secret to defeating superbugs is to kill them before they enter your body.
Any species of bacteria can turn into a superbug, but there are certain factors that make the transformation more likely. People may accelerate the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the following ways:
- Using or misusing antibiotics – for example, not finishing a round of antibiotics or consuming old or expired medication
- Ignoring food safety practices (to better understand the connection between food safety and superbugs, click here)
- Poor infection-control practices, often found in underdeveloped communities around the world
- Living or working in unsanitary conditions with poor germ control
Protecting Yourself from Superbugs
Superbugs present a serious risk to human health. In fact, the rise of superbugs means that antibiotic treatments for new mothers, chemotherapy patients, and individuals with compromised immune systems may be rendered obsolete. That’s borderline dystopian. However, not all hope is lost. Adopting healthy practices can stave off antibiotic resistance. There are a few ways to tackle antibiotic resistance and protect yourself from superbugs:
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water.
- Consider using a hand sanitizer, especially if you’re traveling, using public transit, or making regular physical contact with coworkers who may have been exposed to germs. Check out SafeSpace’s Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer, which is travel-sized and won’t dry out your hands. Do not substitute hand sanitizer for hand washing, however.
- Use antibiotics exactly as directed. Follow the label directions, listen to your doctor, and never skip the full treatment course – even if you feel well.
- Avoid using old or expired prescriptions.
- Don’t share antibiotics with others.
- Adopt healthy lifestyle habits like eating well, sleeping, and exercising to boost your immune system.
It’s impossible to completely eliminate germs from our surroundings, but you can reduce the number of harmful germs in your home, workplace, a school classroom, a gym, or any other larger space with SafeSpace’s help. SafeSpace offers Germ Foggers that can disinfect spaces like homes, hotel rooms, offices, classrooms, gyms, locker rooms, and more in a matter of minutes.
So what are superbugs? Put simply, they’re dangerous little organisms that can make you sick and present a significant risk to the health of our society. To avoid superbugs and other bacteria this cold and flu season, turn to SafeSpace. The SafeSpace Company is a family-owned small business proudly selling American-made germ foggers, auto disinfecting and deodorizing mists, and alcohol-free hand sanitizers to keep your family safe and healthy. For more information about SafeSpace, contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-735-2506.
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