The basic premise of using antibiotics when truly appropriate can certainly save lives. Unfortunately, the overuse of such treatment – combined with misuse for growth promotion in livestock – results in bacteria becoming resistant to these drugs and even common infections (like urinary tract infections) may become life-threatening.
One of the best ways to avoid developing an infection in the first place is to strengthen the functioning of your own immune system. Here are some strategies to help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance in general:
- Only take antibiotics when necessary. Do not take them for a common cold or flu because both are caused by viruses. Remember, antibiotics do not work on viral infections, only bacterial ones. It’s best to resort to taking antibiotics for more serious infections.
- Avoid using antibacterial products, such as antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, wipes, etc. These types of products actually promote antibiotic resistance because they allow the strongest bacteria to survive and thrive.
- Wash you hands with warm water and plain soap to prevent the spread of bacteria. This is of particular importance when you’re in the kitchen handling food.
- Take precautions in the kitchen. To avoid cross-contamination, use separate cutting boards for raw meat and poultry vs. other food prep like cutting up vegetables. Sanitize your cutting board with hot water and detergent OR you can use vinegar and water for both cutting boards and kitchen counter tops. Coconut oil can also be used to clean, treat, and sanitize wooden cutting boards.
- Eat antibiotic-free meats and foods – another way to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is to consume only grass-fed, organically-raised meats and animal products. Of course, it’s always a good idea to support the small family farms in your area.