Superbug infections are resistant to most antibiotics, and are therefore difficult to treat. Symptoms of superbug infections vary by infection type, and should be treated by a physician immediately. This article explores three of the most common superbugs, their symptoms, and explains the precautions you should take to protect yourself from potential infection.
Types of Superbugs and Their Symptoms
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) identifies the following superbugs as two of the top threats to the U.S.:
Clostridium Difficile (C. diff)
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Each year, more than a half million people get sick from C. difficile, and in recent years, C. difficile infections have become more frequent, severe, and difficult to treat.”
C. diff infection symptoms:
- Watery diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Blood or pus in the stool
- Increased white blood cell count
- Kidney failure
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
As the name suggests, MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to methicillin (a common antibiotic). According to Staph Infection Resources, “There are actually many different kinds of MRSA and Staph aureus bacteria, called strains. Each strain has different ways of infecting people and unique ways of protecting itself from antibiotic treatments.”
MRSA infection symptoms:
MRSA usually begins as small, pimple-like bumps that become swollen, red, and filled with pus. Some people describe them as looking like spider bites. If you are exhibiting these signs, seek medical care immediately. Your physician will be able to perform a culture test to verify if the infection is MRSA.
Note: Not all staph infections are MRSA. Read more about the 18 most dangerous superbugs according to the CDC.
Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
CRE is a family of drug-resistant bacteria that is resistant to most antibiotics. IF CRE enters a person's bloodstream and causes an infection, the outcome is not usually good, as CRE kills around 50% of their victims.
CRE infection symptoms:
CRE infection symptoms can vary from person to person depending on the organs that are involved. However, some symptoms to look out for include:
- Sores that do not heal
- Swelling, redness, or soreness under the skin
Preventing Infection Starts with You
Prevention is aided by the practice of healthy hygiene habits, including:
- Washing your hands often
- Safely handling food preparation
- Keeping commonly used surfaces clean and disinfected
- Not sharing personal items such as toothbrushes and razors
It is also important to use antibiotics properly. Antibiotics only work against infections that are caused by certain parasites, bacteria, and fungus. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed, or failing to take the full course of antibiotics prescribed to you, can lead to antibiotic resistance.
As a general rule of thumb, only take antibiotics as they are prescribed to you by your doctor, and understand that antibiotics are not a cure-all for every illness.
What to Do if Infected
If you or a family member are diagnosed with superbug infection symptoms, it is important to sanitize and disinfect the home to help ensure no other family members become infected. The best way to do this is to turn to a professional bioremediation company for help. When choosing a company, make sure you select one that uses chemicals with superbug specific kill agents because there is no universal cleaner that can properly disinfect every virus.
Aftermath uses similar disinfection techniques that health care, food preparation, and manufacturing facilities use to restore a site to a safe and livable condition. Contact Aftermath today to learn more.
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/c-difficile/basics/definition/con-20029664
Staph Infection Resources: http://www.staph-infection-resources.com/info/what-is-mrsa/
NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/what-cre-why-do-people-catch-it-n308881