When your doctor is extra insistent that you take all of your antibiotic prescription, they have a very good reason: antibiotic resistance.
You may have heard of MRSA, or even seen a concerning article about antibiotic resistance (ABR) — a rising concern in the healthcare community. But how can ABR ultimately impact your team?
Brief History of Antibiotics
While humans have been treating infections with antibiotic plant extracts, molds, and fungi for thousands of years, the real “age of antibiotics” began in 1910 with the first chemical antibiotic drug, salvarsan. In the century since, the discovery of antibiotics increased the average human lifespan by 23 years.
The introduction of penicillin in 1944 ushered in a golden age for antibiotic use and discovery. Between 1950 and 1970, nearly half of all antibiotic classes that we use today were discovered. Finally, doctors could treat pneumonia and staph infections, saving countless lives. Not only were bacterial infections treatable, but antibiotics made chemotherapy, organ transplants, and open-heart surgeries possible.
Rising Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria were discovered nearly simultaneously to the expanded use of antibiotics. Just as penicillin was made widely available, the first antibiotic-resistant E. coli strain was discovered in 1941.
However, a lack of innovation has caused the major antibiotic-resistance crisis that we’re seeing now. Since the 1970s, antibiotic research and discovery have significantly declined, leaving us with a limited number of treatment options — which now makes us vulnerable in the face of antibiotic resistance.
Due to overuse of the available antibiotic treatments, the bacteria that survive antibiotics are able to multiply, resulting in new generations of bacteria that have adapted to resist the effects of antibiotics. Ultimately, this can result in increasingly difficult-to-treat or even untreatable infections. And yet, we aren’t slowing down our antibiotic use. According to the WHO, our use of first-line defense antibiotics increased by 26.2%, and worse, our use of last-resort antibiotics increased by over 90% between 2000 and 2015.
Antibiotic researchers are working on new treatments — but their efforts may not meet the mark. Only 27 antibiotic treatments for priority pathogens are in clinical development, and only 6 of those treatments are considered innovative by the WHO’s standards.
The stakes are incredibly high. As of 2019, antibiotic resistance caused more deaths than HIV/AIDS or malaria — and this will only get worse. Without new antibiotic treatments, an estimated 10 million people per year will die from antibiotic-resistant infections by 2050.
While we await new antibiotic treatments, we can all do a small part to defend against antibiotic resistance. If you’re prescribed an antibiotic, complete your treatment and take every dose — even if you’re feeling better. Without a complete dose, you may leave some bacteria alive, which can learn resistance against the drug you were prescribed.
MRSA in the Locker Room
While you may not be a healthcare professional, coaches, athletes, first responders, and military have just as much stake in the game of antibiotic resistance. One of the most common antibiotic-resistant bacteria thrives on your gear, skin, and in your equipment rooms.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is probably the only antibiotic-resistant bacteria that you’ve heard of — because it’s a big deal. It can cause severe infections that result in amputations and even death. Since 1961, healthcare workers have been aware of MRSA’s resistance to all types of penicillin, leaving few treatment options for those infected.
The gear that protects your team or unit is often rife with bacteria, including MRSA — and the common practice of sharing unsanitized gear leaves your team vulnerable to an outbreak. Since our MRSA treatment options are so limited, it’s in your best interest to prevent infection in the first place with a proper gear sanitizing routine.
Kill MRSA with Ozone
Ozone takes care of antibiotic-resistant bacteria before you contract MRSA (or worse). The O3 molecule destroys bacteria, significantly reducing any bacteria, fungi, or viruses living on your gear.
Our Sports-O-Zone and Decon Zone sanitizing systems are designed to properly sanitize your gear without reducing their protective features. In just 32 minutes, ozone will rid your gear of dangerous pathogens, reduce odor, and leave it safe to use.
Want to protect your team from MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant infections? Reach out to us.