Tag Archives: antibiotic resistance

6 Ways Antibacterial Soap Does More Harm than Good

We’ve all reached for the soap labeled ‘antibacterial’ over the boring, normal-looking one thinking we were doing ourselves and our families the service of cleaner hands and reduced risk of sickness. Oops! It turns out our good intentions weren’t really doing that much good. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons antibacterial soap is better left on the store shelves:

  1. It directly contributes to antibacterial resistance. One of the most threatening global medical concerns of our time is that germs are starting to develop resistance against antibiotics and antibacterial products. This leads to more deaths from infections that can no longer be stopped by modern medicine.
  2. Its active ingredient is an endocrine disruptor. The majority of antibacterial soaps and sanitizers contain the chemical triclosan which, according to studies, can actually get into the bloodstream and interfere with the thyroid hormone. This can potentially contribute to such issues as infertility, obesity or even cancer.
  3. It has been linked to higher risk of childhood allergies. Research suggests that children exposed to triclosan may develop immune system problems such as peanut or hay fever allergies due to reduced bacteria exposure.
  4. Triclosan + chlorinated water = danger! When chlorinated water mixes with triclosan it forms chloroform. The EPA has deemed chloroform as a potential carcinogenic substance. So, if you’re washing your hands with soap containing triclosan in chlorine-treated water, small amounts of chloroform could be compounding.
  5. It is simply no more effective than regular soap. Over 4 decades of FDA research and numerous studies prove regular soap to be just as effective as antibacterial soap when it comes to the prevention of infection and illness.

So, all in all, why use a product that may cause unwanted and potentially dangerous issues? Perhaps we should get back to the basics: good old fashioned boring soap and water will more than do the trick! Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you check back again soon.

Antibiotic Resistance – No More Drugs For A Cold!

Have you ever been annoyed when you walked into a doctor’s office expecting a prescription for the terrible cold that has been plaguing you for over a week, only to be denied? Well like it or not, your doctor was absolutely right to deny you antibiotics for your cold. Antibiotics do nothing to help common cold viruses and should be reserved only for bacterial infections. Overprescribing medications is one of the leading causes of antibacterial and antimicrobial resistance.

What is Antibiotic and Antimicrobial Resistance?

Bacteria and other microbes such as fungi and viruses exist everywhere and are constantly multiplying. They live on our skin, inside our bodies and all over our surroundings, but many of them are harmless or even helpful. The problem with antibiotic treatments is that they annihilate not only the troublesome bacteria in your system, but the beneficial bacteria as well. There are always a few bacteria left behind that don’t get killed by the drugs which then multiply and spread through our environment from the resistant person to others, contaminated surface to person, or meat-product to person which creates widespread resistance to said bacteria.

How Do Prescriptions Contribute to Resistance?

Doctors worldwide have been aggressively prescribing antibiotics since the 1940’s. Because of such prolonged and widespread use, certain bacteria have become resistant to almost all strains of antibiotics, rendering the drugs ineffective for various infections (such as MRSA). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over 50% of the antibiotics being prescribed are either not necessary, prescribed at too high a dosage, or for too long of a duration. Because of this, over 2 000 000 people contract antibiotic-resistant infections each year, causing almost 23 000 annual fatalities.

Why Do Doctors Overprescribe  Antibiotics?

Some doctors give antibiotics for viral infections by mistake, but others cave under the pressure of their patients demanding prescriptions for colds because they don’t want to leave empty handed. Years ago many doctors thought antibiotics were harmless enough placations for patients’ cold complaints, but unfortunately this mollification has only led to more people contracting antibiotic resistant infections. It is irresponsible for today’s doctors to give into this pressure, as they know full well that the dangers of unnecessary antibiotics include not only promotion of resistant bacteria, but also potential adverse side effects such as a vulnerability to C. Difficile, a resistant intestinal infection that can cause fatal diarrhea. Luckily, most doctors see the bigger picture and are beginning to be more discerning with antibiotics.

The Role of Food Animals and Resistance

Another big contributing factor to antibiotic resistance is the use of antibiotics in food-animals for curing infections contracted from poor slaughterhouse conditions. The use of antibiotics in food animals is the primary cause of resistance to certain germs such as salmonella in humans, therefor it is integral that antibiotics are only used to treat infections in animals when absolutely necessary, and are never used for growth or disease prevention purposes.

How Can We Combat Antibiotic Resistance?

As long as there are antibiotics, bacteria will find a way to become resistant, but there are some measures we can take individually and as a society:

  • Only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary, always check what type of infection you have before cashing in your prescription
  • Prevent infection by washing your hands thoroughly and often, carefully handling meat products and getting necessary immunizations
  • The implementation of antibiotic stewardship in hospitals and clinics – appropriate use of antibiotics (only when absolutely necessary)
  • Promoting and spreading public awareness about antimicrobial resistance
  • Medical scientists must keep working to create new antibiotics as old ones become resistant







Cold Care – Tips and Tidbits (Part 2)

Cold And Flu

There are over 100 different viruses that can cause the common cold. The two most prominent are the coronavirus and rhinovirus. While there is no “cure” for the common cold, there are things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and help ease you into recovery.

What To Do When Prevention Fails?

You tried every preventative measure you could think of but still caught that cold, so what now? Well, there are many traditional remedies that may help ease your symptoms, as well as certain over the counter (OTC) medications. Natural remedies also exist that may help your illness pass quickly and quietly. Some of the most widely accepted cold-fighting measures to take include getting plenty of rest, hydrating more than normal to flush out the germs more quickly, and avoiding secondhand smoke or other irritants that may bother your upper respiratory tract even more.

Avoid Unnecessary Meds

Many cold-marketed cough syrups and other medications claim to ‘cure’ but don’t actually work for colds, and can be counterproductive to your recovery. Common cough syrups contain a cough suppressing agent called dextromethorphan (DM) which can actually stall your recovery and can be especially dangerous to asthmatics and children. There is a reason we cough when we are sick; coughing and sneezing are your body’s ways of purging unwanted germs. You want to get that gunk out of your lungs as soon as you can, so let your annoying coughs resound!

Natural Remedies That Help

While many natural remedies have been debunked or remain unproven, there are those that help. Some of the more beneficial ones include:

  • Salt water – The healing power of salt water is pretty widely accepted, and saline nasal sprays can act as decongestants while salt water gargles can help heal sore throats.
  • Ginger and peppermint – Ginger has shown some promise helping with certain bad stomach issues, while peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with sinuses (in steam) or the digestive tract.
  • Sipping warm liquids – The warmth can break up mucus and get it flowing to help clear you out.
  • Vaporizers and humidifiers – Adding moisture to the air can also help decongest some people.

Meds That Do Work

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil or ibuprofen (not aspirin) can help alleviate any inflammation or aches and pains associated with your cold and help bring down mild fevers. Decongestants have also proven successful for some cold sufferers, as they help decrease inflammation in the nasal passages and airways while helping to soothe stuffiness.

Don’t Run For The Antibiotics!

Many people go to the doctor with the first onset of a cold symptom expecting antibiotics. In actuality, the vast majority of colds are viral, not bacterial, so antibiotics won’t help one bit. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily or too frequently contributes to antibiotic resistance which could work against you when you really need them in the future. Antibiotics also disrupt the gut’s bacterial ecosystem, killing off good bacteria along with the bad. Lastly, antibiotics are medications which, like any, have potential side effects. Too many antibiotics can be especially troublesome for causing diarrhea in children.

When To Visit The Doc

Most colds resolve themselves within 7-10 days, but that is not to say no one should go to the doctor for a cold. If your baby or young child has a cold, definitely take them to a doctor as soon as possible. If you are immunocompromised (hindered by a chronic condition such as AIDS or a respiratory disease) you should also touch base with your doctor as you may need medications (such as corticosteroids) to help your body fight the bug. Lastly, if your cold is hanging on too long and not improving, or you have a high, persistent fever, it is time to visit your doctor, or download the DocChat app to have a video consultation with one of our top-notch physicians today!