Antibiotic Awareness is Key to Stopping Superbugs

4 min read

Antibiotics awareness week

Let’s get one thing straight first: Antibiotics are incredible, life-saving drugs. They’re one of the many miracles of modern medicine, and we’re fortunate to have access to them. But as Voltaire (and Uncle Ben in Spiderman) said: With great power comes great responsibility. And in the case of antibiotics, that responsibility is massive because the risk of drug resistance is so great.

Antibiotic overuse and drug resistance

Overuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock has led to the rise of “superbugs” that have adapted and outwitted frontline drugs that used to successfully treat them. In turn, this has caused a surge of drug-resistant infections worldwide. In the United States alone, there are more than 2.8 million annual infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And more than 35,000 people die as a direct result of these infections.

If you’ve ever experienced a drug-resistant infection yourself, then you know how scary and frustrating it is to battle an ever-adapting, microscopic enemy. It can make you feel powerless. That fear is echoed by the medical community and organizations worldwide that are working to raise awareness around antibiotics and develop alternative treatments to common infections.

How to "be antibiotics aware"

Here are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from drug-resistant infections.

  • Stay informed. Read up on antibiotic resistance and follow organizations like the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO), which regularly share the latest research and guidance on antibiotic resistance.
  • Always ask for labs. It’s common to walk out of a doctor’s office with a prescription before the tests are in, especially if you’re a relatively healthy person with no history of antibiotic resistance. But “common” is not necessarily safe. According to the CDC, over 30% of antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily in outpatient settings. Requesting labs before treatment is just smart.
  • Seek out alternative treatments for mild infections. If you’re dealing with a sinus or ear infection, you may not need antibiotics to kick it. At-home remedies and over-the-counter drugs can often take on mild infections, helping you avoid unnecessary drugs. Again, always check with your doctor first before self-treating — and don’t wait to get help if your symptoms don’t improve quickly.
  • Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Never stop a course of antibiotics partway through, even if your symptoms have disappeared. Taking the full course gives you the best odds of eliminating all the infection-causing bacteria and regaining health.
  • Practice ongoing prevention. Wash your hands regularly. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Get vaccinated. Stay home from work and school when you’re sick. Thoroughly clean food preparation surfaces, especially when cooking meat and poultry.

What happens if antibiotics don't work for a UTI?

As painful as they may be, UTIs by themselves are not life-threatening. But the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is making it more difficult for doctors to effectively treat what used to be simple infections. The New York Times called UTIs "the single biggest risk to healthy people from drug-resistant germs." When bacteria develop a resistance to a drug and outlive a round of antibiotics, they can then hide out and multiply in the urinary tract, later causing “reinfections.”

Since getting one UTI makes you more susceptible to future infections, this becomes a troubling cycling for many patients. People who struggle with recurrent UTIs may require multiple rounds of antibiotics to treat one stubborn infection. Plus, leaving a UTI untreated can cause more serious issues, like kidney infections, renal damage, and, in rare cases, sepsis — a life-threatening condition in which the body’s defense mechanisms release chemicals that can cause septic shock and effect multiple organ systems.

While most healthy people will walk away from a UTI relatively unscathed, certain populations — like the elderly and immunocompromised individuals — face a much higher risk of complications. Knowing the common symptoms of septic shock can save your life or a loved one’s.

Common symptoms of septic shock:

  • Dangerously low blood pressure
  • Increase in respiratory rate
  • Altered mental state

Can you treat a UTI without antibiotics?

In short: No, not today. Hopefully we’ll see innovations in UTI treatment in the near future, but at the moment, antibiotics are the only known effective treatment for UTIs. That said, there are more natural methods you can try to reduce your risk and prevent recurrent infections.

Probiotics

Probiotics have been widely embraced by chronic UTI sufferers. Since probiotics are intended to repopulate “good” bacteria to counteract the “bad,” they can be particularly helpful for people who suffer from recurrent UTIs, which are often caused by an imbalance of vaginal flora.

Before you jump for the first probiotic in your health food store, it’s important to note that ordinary “gut” probiotics won’t do much for UTIs. Your best bet is taking a probiotic specifically designed for vaginal health, like Uqora Promote. If you want to shop around, look for a probiotic includes the strains Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Lactobacillus Reuteri — the two most studied in the prevention of UTIs and bacterial vaginosis.

Vitamin C

In terms of supplementation, vitamin C helps fight infections by building up the immune system, one of the first lines of defense against infections. Vitamin C also lowers the pH level of urine, which can make it difficult for the infection-causing bacteria to survive.

Flushing the harmful bacteria out of the urinary system by drinking enough water to guarantee frequent urination is another approach that can help your body’s natural defense systems combat a UTI.

The ultimate point is to encourage frequent urination — when “it’s time to go,” head to the bathroom. Delaying a bathroom trip may give the UTI-causing bacteria more time to latch on to the cell walls of the urinary tract. This can make it much harder to flush them out of your system.

At Uqora, we make products designed to improve urinary tract health and flush out bacteria that cause UTIs. There are no antibiotics in any of our products — just safe, effective, natural ingredients.


Add feminine cleansing wipes for just $5.99

Stay fresh while keeping your pH balanced. Each pack includes 20 wipes. Learn more.

pH-balanced

Hypoallergenic

Biodegradable

This is for you if:
You want to stay fresh and maintain a healthy pH.

How does it work?
As you know, hygiene is a key part of UTI prevention. But not all wipes are created equal. Some can mess with your body’s natural chemistry and do more harm than good. Our wipes keep you clean, fresh, and balanced — without any nasty ingredients.

Directions: 
Use any time you want to freshen up. That might be after sex, exercise, long plane rides — you know your body better than anyone.

Free of:
Allergens, alcohol, parabens, sulfates, sulfates, dyes, phthalates, chlorine bleach.

Ingredients:
Water, triethyl citrate, sodium benzoate, allantoin, lactic acid, carprylyl/capryl glucoside, glycerin, fragrance, sodium dehydroacetate, tetrasodium EDTA, citric acid, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, vaccinium macrocarpon fruit extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, sodium citrate, potassium sorbate.

Spin to win