Did Your Flu Or Bug Last Longer This Time?
We all get sick from time to time. Sometimes it’s just the sniffles. Other times we are bedridden for a few days completely incapacitated with a virus causing havoc with our systems.
Over the years we have realised, we are staying sick for longer. No longer able to shake that tummy bug off in a day or two. Medicines we are accustomed to taking to longer work as well… or not at all. This is because viruses are becoming stronger and our immune systems are getting weaker.
Are We The Problem?
When we do get sick we demand antibiotics hoping that it will clear up the infection in record time.
- Insisting on antibiotics when it may very well not be needed is one of the biggest issues we as South Africans have. This has caused viral strains to become superbugs that are no longer susceptible to antibiotics and have free reign over us.
Let’s face it, we want the quick fixes. After a day or two, we feel better and NEVER finish the course. This has been proven to be another reason why superbugs have become so resistant to medication.
- When an antibiotic course is not completed, bacteria and viruses are left behind and more often than not mutate in that state, becoming resistant to that medication. Voila – a new breed of virus or bacteria that will be even harder to ward off.
We are the cause of most drug-resistant strains of viruses. We are also the reason our bodies are less and less effective at fighting off illnesses. Human beings are creatures of habit, sticking to the same medicine for years on end because we know when we first had this illness, it worked. This goes a long way in creating drug-resistant infectious diseases.
- Overexposure to the same medicine creates an environment of comfort for the viruses because they “know” what to expect and have adapted, causing the virus to no longer be affected by the medicine.
Superbug: Less Like A SuperHero More Like The Villain
When we come across new strains of viruses that are not being killed off by medicines we thought would work, we start to panic and worry about an epidemic outbreak.
An example of bugs that have transformed into superbugs would be that of CRE -Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, a severe case in Johannesburg in 2015/17. The pneumonic plague which is the mutated, now airborne version of the bubonic plague known as the Black Death currently being battled in Madagascar. Something that we are so used to battling – the super flu, that just keeps getting stronger. Even Ebola (not so much a superbug, but left us in a panic) – something that was relatively unknown to South Africans.