Today, if you have a skin infection, most conventional doctors will just assume it’s a mutated superbug like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known by its acronym MRSA, and give you a strong antibiotic. Nonconventional MRSA treatment is not even considered.
That’s right, no testing, just an immediate script for a strong antibiotic with resistance to first line antibiotics assumed from the get go.
In 2010 alone, MRSA killed 19,000 people, sent 7 million people to the ER, and cost $8 billion in medical costs, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Let’s take a moment to understand why superbugs like MRSA exist and, even better, make a game plan on how to deal with them particularly in the scary situation when antibiotics fail you or your child.
Not All Bugs are Bad
First of all, let’s get a very important fact straight. Not all bugs are bad and being a germaphobe will actually make the situation far worse for you and your family’s health.
In fact, there are thousands of strains of microscopic life that are of profound benefit to our physiology and health.
In our intestines, there are “friendly” gut flora: viruses, bacteria and fungi that help us digest food and assist in other fun bodily functions.
Some experts suggest that in a healthy state of being, 90% of our flora are good guys and the other 10% are potential bad guys (aka pathogenic microbes).
Considering the epidemic of MRSA infections, it is likely that this now common superbug has already settled into your gut flora.
Staph Aureus, the parent of MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a very natural part of our world and if you already have it in your gut, it doesn’t necessarily require MRSA treatment.
This bacteria has been around a long time and you are not going to eradicate it from your life or your body so don’t bother trying.
Even if you could somehow sterilize your gut of MRSA, what happens when you walk out your front door? Herein lies the need for harmony.
As I see it, there are three barriers to achieving our desired state of tranquility with the superbugs now rampant in our environment: the antibiotic problem, the cleaning dilemma, and the standard American diet.
The ANTIBIOTIC Problem
Doctors and scientists have known for a long time that antibiotics can cause bacteria to mutate. In fact, Staph Aureus was the first bacterium in which penicillin resistance was found—in 1947, just four years after the drug entered mass-production. Since that time, pharmaceutical companies have struggled to develop stronger antibiotics to fight the onslaught of mutating bugs. Unfortunately, my baby and I were caught in that crossfire. We both developed MRSA infections in 2008. After being prescribed antibiotics, I wondered, “How can the very thing that caused MRSA be a cure for MRSA?” So I decided to fight my infection naturally with incredible success.
During my research, I learned that micro-organisms like Staph create hundreds of generations in one day. So, even though MRSA is contagious, it is also possible that “normal” Staph can mutate within your body when exposed to antibiotics.
There is no way to know for sure if or when it will mutate, even with the best sensitivity testing. Taking antibiotics can also kill off friendly gut flora AND lead to the over-development of virulent pathogens like C-Diff (google C-Diff infections… not fun either). Another example of mutation is VRSA, Vancomycin Resistant Staph Aureus. Vancomycin is considered the antibiotic of last resort… it is currently the strongest antibiotic we have and resistance to it is a desperate situation. Although we may need antibiotics sometimes, it is important that we use them responsibly and avoid them whenever possible.
The Cleaning DILEMMA
By now you might be feeling the urge to reach for a gallon of extra-strength bleach. Indeed, some doctors chastise their MRSA patients for not cleaning their homes better and suggest they take regular baths in diluted bleach. Unfortunately for most people, this is no real solution. During my initial research, I found another mom with a similar situation as my own (she and her daughter were both getting MRSA infections) and she explained to me how great they were doing. They had been taking bleach baths a few times per week and washing all their linens daily. Now, they only got infected every three months (instead of every month). She considered that success but it didn’t sound like an acceptable solution to me.
Over time I discovered that, although cleaning is important, it is not the solution to MRSA and doing it to the point of stress can exasperate an already depressed immune system. Consider the country of Norway, who had one of world’s lowest hospital infection rates in 2009. Their solution? Thirty years ago, Norway’s public health officials started a program that cut back on the use of antibiotics and denied the registrations of stronger ones. They kept the stronger antibiotics out of their country! They take other measures as well, like isolating MRSA-positive patients and staff but extra cleaning has never been part of their plan and their hospitals are not pristine.
So for everyday prevention, wash your hands well with a gentle, natural soap and stay away from anti-bacterial products containing Triclosan. Clean your house with natural products or make your own with essential oils. For preventing infection in cuts and scrapes, use a gentle antiseptic like silver hydrosol. Avoid elective surgery and be prepared to act quickly if you or a family member shows signs of infection.
The Standard American Diet
Eating is so much more fun than cleaning, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, there is going to be work involved if you want to supercharge your immune system to fight off superbugs. First of all, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is not going to be a choice. Babies and children are especially vulnerable to the SAD. The main immune system offenders are:
- GMO (genetically modified) foods, processed foods, fast foods
- Too much sugar, especially processed sugar (which is nearly always GMO nowadays in North America)
- Pesticides & other FDA-approved food chemicals
- Soy, corn, pork, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, nightshades, bovine (cow) dairy & beef
- Too many grains or starches (especially gluten-containing or over-processed grains)
The best way to avoid infections and superbugs is to keep your immune system healthy.
The best way to keep your immune system healthy is to maintain steady, healthy eating habits. This can be the greatest challenge whether due to an over-busy lifestyle, genetics, environmental issues, medical history, age or stress. The long term solution is regular, healthy, homemade food. Nutritional supplementation (see list below) can help bridge the gap created by soil nutrient depletion and other lifestyle and environmental concerns. Occasional fasting is a good idea such as skipping a meal or two, taking a break from meat, or juicing raw fruits and vegetables.
If you find yourself in an immune-compromised state with a virus or bacterial infection looming or in full bloom, then you should adhere to a more strict diet, free from inflammatory foods.
Before my MRSA infection, I believed I was healthy. Even though I ate better than most people I knew, the reality was that I needed to make some big changes.
If you are experiencing recurrent MRSA, infections or any other chronic health issue, consider it a serious red flag and take personal responsibility for making the necessary changes.
MRSA Infection Strikes – Now What Do I Do?
MRSA infections can manifest in many different ways.
Most often, MRSA superbug infections look and feel like a spider or insect bite. Cuts, wounds and surgical sites are also particularly vulnerable to infection.MRSA has a nasty habit of moving very fast and it can be unpredictable. This is why prevention is the best medicine. However, if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you will heal quicker from any illness you encounter.
If you think you have symptoms of MRSA, you should consult a physician, preferably an Infectious Disease Doctor (IDD) immediately.
If you decide to take antibiotics, ask your doctor to order a sensitivity test on the infected area. You should also consider natural MRSA treatment and supplements to compliment any conventional medical treatment but be sure to seek professional help in choosing which is best for your personal needs as well as the proper dosing for your particular situation.
There are many vitamins, homeopathic remedies and essential oils that can be helpful. They are also wonderful for daily immune support and for staying one step ahead of the invaders. Allicin, the strongest natural MRSA treatment, is listed first and should be used with care.
Again, seek professional guidance, especially when dosing children!
Can these natural MRSA treatments work when antibiotics fail? Yes, absolutely they can and do every single day. Given how dangerous uncontained MRSA can be, however, it is always important to seek the advice of a trained, holistic physician when tackling this type of entrenched health challenge even when choosing a MRSA treatment that is nontoxic.
MRSA Treatment Chart of Natural Alternatives
MRSA is the Tip of the Superbug Iceberg
MRSA is the most prevalent superbug (with C-Diff not far behind) but it is really just the tip of the drug-resistant iceberg. Now, there is a super fungus to contend with. Candida auris is spreading rapidly in much the same manner as MRSA 10 years ago. Once again, natural remedies and traditional diet is the way to beat it, as conventional anti-fungal drugs are failing across the board.
You may not be able to choose which bugs you are exposed to but you really can choose to live in harmony with superbugs and thrive in spite of them.
About the AuthorCarrie Perez is a MRSA survivor , recognized MRSA lay expert in the Tampa, Florida area, and a homeschooling, work-at-home mom to three children ages 3, 6 and 9. She has helped hundreds of people regain their health from MRSA when conventional treatments have failed them.
This is an opinionated article and is meant for discussion purposes only. It is not meant to treat, diagnose, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. It is by no means an exhaustive analysis of MRSA or superbugs.
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.