Fighting drug-resistant 'super-bugs': UCLA expert offers protection tips

By Rachel Champeau
Tips for fighting drug-resistant 'super-bugs'
Drug-resistant CRKP

The new "super-bug" CRKP, known officially as carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, is just the latest in a series of emerging drug-resistant strains of bacteria that pose a serious threat to human health. CRKP has been reported in nearly 40 states, and there are currently no medicines to treat these infections.

So while new drugs to combat stealthy microbes like CRKP and () remain in development, what can we do to protect ourselves from becoming infected and spreading these dangerous bugs? 
 
"The first line of defense is good hygiene and infection-control, such as hand-washing, both in the hospital and in the community," said Dr. Daniel Uslan, an assistant clinical professor of infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "It sounds so simple, but people forget to wash their hands."
 
Uslan notes that the overuse of antibiotics also plays a role in promoting drug-resistant , as microbes build up resistance to commonly used antibiotics over time and repeated exposure. 
 
Uslan, who directs the UCLA Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, which promotes the appropriate use of antibiotics in the hospitals of the UCLA Health System, suggests the following precautionary measures to help people avoid superbugs like CRKP:
 
1) Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
 
2) Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand-cleaners are also effective.
 
3) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
 
4) If you are seeing your doctor for a bad cold or the flu, discuss the use of antibiotics. If it's a viral infection, antibiotics aren't effective and will only add to the problem of antibiotic resistance.
 
5) If your doctor determines that you do not have a bacterial infection, do not pressure him or her to prescribe antibiotics. Instead, ask about methods you can use to reduce your symptoms.
 
6) Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your physician, even if you feel better.
 
7) Do not save leftover antibiotics for the next time you become sick.
 
8) Do not take prescribed for someone else.
 
9) In the hospital, ask if health care workers have washed or sanitized their hands before working with a patient.
 
10)  Take special care to keep clean and to cover and protect scrapes and cuts when in a high-risk environment like a health care facility, since some germs can spread this way as well. 

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New imaging technology predicts fracture risk

Oct 27, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new method for identifying which bones have a high risk of fracture, and for monitoring the effectiveness of new bone-strengthening drugs and techniques, has been developed by scientists ...

Enzyme enhances, erases long-term memories in rats

Mar 04, 2011

 (PhysOrg.com) -- Even long after it is formed, a memory in rats can be enhanced or erased by increasing or decreasing the activity of a brain enzyme, say researchers supported, in part, by the National ...

Anti-HIV vaginal gel promising protection in Africa, SE asia

Apr 20, 2011

A new vaginal microbicide gel and drug formulation looks promising for empowering women in developing countries to protect themselves from HIV during intercourse, without having to inform their partners, according to research ...

Scientists discover how dengue virus infects cells

Oct 12, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- National Institutes of Health researchers have discovered a key step in how the dengue virus infects a cell. The discovery one day may lead to new drugs to prevent or treat the infection.

Recommended for you

Thyroid disease risk varies among blacks, Asians, and whites

8 hours ago

An analysis that included active military personnel finds that the rate of the thyroid disorder Graves disease is more common among blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders compared with whites, according to a study in the April ...

The key to easy asthma diagnosis is in the blood

11 hours ago

Using just a single drop of blood, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has developed a faster, cheaper and more accurate tool for diagnosing even mild cases of asthma.

Younger adults hit hardest this flu season

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The H1N1 flu was the predominant influenza strain in the United States this year, but it packed a lot less punch than in 2009 when it caused a worldwide pandemic, health officials report.

User comments