Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spa Lady on MRSA

1. Are Drug-Resistant Super Bugs Smart? ========================================
Recently in the Health Section of the newspaper, an article read "Pressure is on hospitals to stamp out bacterial bugs."
This reminded me of my past life as an Intensive Care Unit nurse.
I worked as a staff nurse and then an Assistant Head Nurse in ICU for many years. I was involved in dozens of "central line" insertions at the bedside.
Central lines are like big IV's with a big catheter that is threaded through a neck vein. They are a port for intravenous fluids, medications, blood transfusions, and they can also be used to measure pressures and fluid balance in the patient. Other locations used for these central lines are the inside of the arm or the groin area.
These "central lines" are a serious source of entry for bad bacteria that cause infections that don't respond to antibiotics, also called "Super Bugs".
Sterile procedure is always used for these insertions whether in the operating room or at the bedside. It can happen that there is a slip up and the sterile technique is broken, which can result in infection. Infection also comes from carelessness after the insertion - poor procedure during dressing changes, not washing hands between patients, etc.
Years back when I worked in ICU and a patient got an infection (whether they were from central lines, regular IVs, urinary catheters, and surgical incisions) it was most likely always taken care of by antibiotics.
Yes, there were some stubborn bugs that necessitated changing antibiotics, but infections always seemed to clear up.
Today there are infections caused by bacteria that don't respond to any antibiotics.
It is not uncommon for someone to go into a hospital for a minor procedure and end up with a major infection. And it's most unfortunate when it is caused by a Super Bug.
Hospital acquired infections are happening more and more. In a 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine 'catheter associated infections' tripled since 1975 So here we are in 2009 and I'm sure its gone up even more!
MRSA (pronounced "mersa" - an acronym for methicillin resistant staph aureous) is one of the antibiotic resistant strains that are among many hospital acquired infections. Anymore this is a common secondary diagnosis. And now this bug is prevalent outside of the hospital!
Why are these bugs resistant to antibiotics now and they weren't before?
Call me crazy...but having a tremendous respect for nature I believe that these microbes are pretty intelligent and they know what's going on here. It's nature's attempt to survive.
We think we know how to control nature, how arrogant is that? (I'm saying "we" as if I'm part of this antibiotic manufacturing and dispensing regime - but I'm not)! We have no clue how smart these critters are - but they are sure starting to let us know!
I think these little guys (smart, but bad, bacteria) know what's coming at 'em when the antibiotics show up on the scene.
They have had enough time over these decades of over-usage to learn the patterns of these chemical molecules and then transmute themselves so they will survive the onslaught.
So now what? Besides common sense preventive measures - like basic hand washing - what else can be done in facing this challenge so that people don't have to continue dying from these infections?
Enter Essential Oils! Here's my (very simple) take on it:
Besides essential oils being naturally anti-microbial, generally speaking, nature takes care of nature.
Nature's inherent desire is to create harmony and balance. When bugs threaten a harmonious environment, the essential oils kick in and get rid of them - respecting the rest of the terrain of good bacteria.
Essential oils are complex enough and vary per batch so there is never a consistent pattern for the bacteria to identify.
Essential oils (only therapeutic grade - and yes, I am ALWAYS referring to Young Living) are effective against bacteria, and viruses and fungus. There are even a few specific oils that are known to attack MRSA.
Researchers at the University of Manchester tested the efficacy of three essential oils against MRSA and E.coli. Within just two minutes of contact, it was found that they combated these and many other bacteria and fungi.
So I say - let's go back to looking at nature as a way to help us with infection control AND let's notbe afraid to tell our health care professionals that we desire to use these amazing essential oils toprotect from infection.
I play my part - when I've had a family member admitted to the hospital, I bring the diffuser and immediately diffuse in the hospital room and do all that I can to clean up the area. Yes, it raises a few eyebrows and gets a bit of attention, but it's a good way to educate the doctors and nurses and protect yourself and your loved one.