Thursday, April 07, 2011

The superbug culture

A couple years ago I came back from Japan and was down with the flu. It must have been a strain that we don't get here because after 2 weeks of antibiotics and whatever rest I could manage without ending up being a vegetable it wouldn't go away. Finally, I decided to check it out at the hospital.

This specialist basically disinfected me with some disinfectant spray, and after that administered something I came to know as Rocephin. Next day, I was good as new - and so after that I never bothered to go to a GP because what I thought was that they don't know what they're doing.

While that may be still true today, what I didn't realize was that administering a high dose of antibiotics to kill off anything that stood in its way can do more damage than good because it meant that the body is unable to fight off the infection by itself, so if the bacteria or virus developed a resistance to it, there would be nothing left for you to take in the event you fell ill again.

These viruses are now known as superbugs, they are resistant to antibiotics and mutate rapidly. Pharmaceutical companies are not keen to develop the antibiotics to counter these superbugs because it isn't profitable for them. A course of antibiotics last you a week or two tops, where else cardiovascular drugs are to be taken long term, which translates to long term profits for these pharmaceutical companies further strengthening my point that large corporations don't really care about you.

As of now, superbugs are killing more people than HIV, and yet there is generally little or no awareness for it. Why is that so? Perhaps because people don't really think its such a big deal. What you think might be 'just the flu' might be something more deadly if left unchecked. If you're like most people, you might wait to 'ride it out' until you find that something is amiss. You have the SARS, bird flu, and the H1N1 that until it kills people do they sit up and take notice, but how do you prevent it from happening? Don't you think its funny how if you wear a mask out to prevent from getting infected, you're not really thinking of how you're doing it for your own sake, but rather how people would look at you and think you're such a weirdo, but if everyone's doing it you'd think that it's ok because everyone is doing it anyway.

General hygiene is number one. Sanitizing your hands often will definitely help, and of course if you're sick, stop sneezing and coughing in public. Stay home and quarantine yourself. The fact that the superbug, thought to have started in India, where its hot, humid and crowded, becomes the perfect petri dish for this bug to mutate. The largest affected cases also happened in China as well, which leads me to think that its not really just the bug that's killing people, its the culture as well.

You can say all you want but if you're like most folks, if you feel ok, you'll continue working. You don't want to seem too paranoid and other people will look at you and think you're being lazy if you took a day off because of a slight flu. But that's the culture, we are too hardworking for our sake, and that could be deadly. The other thing is that Asian cultures tend to shrug things off as just a small matter, until of course it escalates to something bigger, and perhaps by then it spirals out of control.

Until today I still don't understand how some people can continue to say that 'it won't happen to me'. Shouldn't we have had enough time to evolve into a more advanced culture that prevents something from happening rather than figuring out what to do once it hits you?