A perfectly healthy friend (i.e. not immunocompromised) of mine is being treated for MRSA, a very antibiotic-resistant staph infection. She is undoubtedly the healthiest person in the ICU: she felt completely normal except for a spreading red itching on her arm. I felt awful that, as she struggled to undo the waterproof dressing over her IV, I looked at the various cuts and abrasions on my hands and weighed touching her with potentially contracting infection. I hate treating people like they’re toxic; it feels so dehumanizing. I hand-sanitized like crazy when we left her.
Antibiotic resistance is real. Years of terrible medical and agricultural abuse of antibiotics has brought us here. People thought, “oh, we’ll see what happens”, and now we’re seeing what happens. Colistin, the last-resort antibiotic, has been heavily used as a prophylactic in agricultural animals across the world… and now colistin resistance has emerged. We have not learned.
There’s not much you can do unless you’re an industrial farmer (and even then, you probably can’t do much against the economic pressures of today), except writing to your congresspeople maybe. And if you are prescribed antibiotics, TAKE THE ENTIRE DOSE. Don’t stop early. DON’T. And don’t take antibiotics for common colds. Wash your hands often.