Have you ever heard how bad it is if you got a super bug.  And no…this isn’t a hidden super power.  No you can’t call Batman and ask to borrow his.

A super bug can be a bad thing, especially if you are prone to infections, have other illness, are old or really young.  Oh by the way, you can find one of these super bugs at your local hospital, your clinic, or your own bathroom.

A super bug refers to a bacterium that is on steroids.  Or in other words, is resistant to certain antibiotics.  There are several bacteria that have become super bugs because they have found a resistance to antibiotics.

How do bacteria become resistant?

1.)    Genetic Mutations

–       Gene mutation is in the coding of the bacteria.
–       At a basic level, somehow the coding changes, allowing an antibiotic that was once effective, to suddenly become ineffective.

2.)    Over prescribing

–       Prescription for antibiotics is on the rise.
–       When a prescription is given for a viral infection, it doesn’t help. But the bacteria in the body can then become resistant.
–       When antibiotics saturate the community, they also become less effective. Over time, bacteria can adapt and soon become resistant.

3.)    Not finishing a course of antibiotics

–       A single day on a prescribed antibiotic can begin to kill the bacteria.
–       Five days, can mostly kill the bacteria, but usually not all the way.
–       Hundreds of bacteria still live, but you start to feel better or the redness goes away.
–       Stopping the antibiotic will allow the current bacteria to live and potentially a resistance could emerge.
–       Around 20% of people who get antibiotics, don’t finish them


Which bacteria are the most susceptible?

Remember that there are literally hundreds of bacteria types. Staph or strep and many many others. If a strep becomes resistant, it doesn’t mean that all strep are now resistant.  Only that group that initially emerged with the resistance would have a small change over the other Streps.

The problem is that group, is now much harder to kill.  And over time, the resistant bacteria could outnumber the non-resistant.


1.)    MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

–         This is a Staph infection
–         Resistant to several antibiotics
–         Often the bacteria affects the skin
–         Can cause serious infections like sepsis and flesh eating bacteria
–         Is considered a Super Bug

2.)    Clostridium difficile

–         Is a bacteria that is found in the intestines
–         It can cause serious digestive problems
–         One of the leading causes of bacterial induced diarrhea
–         Can be resistant to Fluoroquinolone antibiotics

3.)    E.coli

–         Is considered a fluroal bacteria
–         No harm occurs when it remains in the intestines
–         Problems occur when it reaches and contaminates water and food.
–         Serious health issues can arise.
–         Can be resistant to Fluoroquinolone antibiotics

4.)    Salmonella

–         Is found in raw foods like chicken, eggs, meats, and some vegetables
–         Problems occur when consumed from contaminated water or foods
–         Can cause serious health conditions

5.)    Sulfa resistant bacteria

–         Sulfa is a type of antibiotic that has wide spread uses
–         They are commonly used
–         They typically prevent a bacteria from properly gaining nutrients
–         For many years, sulfa antibiotics was the most prescribed medication
–         When overly prescribed, resistance became apparent

6.)    Streptoccus pyogenes

–         This is a Strept infection
–         Can affect the skin, tonsillitis, meninigitis, vaginitis, and others
–         Can be resistant to Macrolides
–         Can be treated with Penicillin

7.)    Pseudomonas aeruginosa

–         Bacteria that affects the lungs, kidneys, and urinary tract
–         Can be found on medical equipment, in hospitals and clinics.
–         Often, several antibiotics are needed for treatment


Typically the medications mentioned are those that are taken orally.  IV antibiotics are often required in cases where resistant bacteria are found.  In moderate to severe cases, IV antibiotics may be prescribed of a week or so.  They may switch to oral medication after the infection has been controlled.

Oral medications, different that the ones that have resistance, can be used. A close monitoring of the infection should be the number one priority.

New medications are being looked at and tested that can help fight against resistance. But remember, whenever there is a bacteria and antibiotics, there will be some resistance.

Take home thoughts

When seeing a licensed medical provider, consider that demanding an antibiotic may not always be the right choice. I know, that we want treatment and we want a cure, but sometimes our sickness may be from a virus and not a bacteria.

If we are prescribed an antibiotic, we need to take the entire amount. Take all the pills. Don’t keep some in your medicine cabinet and don’t throw them away.  Take them as prescribed.  If we do these two things, we may just help slow this fight against drug resistant bacteria.

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