MRSA has practically become a household name. Most of us are aware of C. diff these days. And EVERYONE has heard of the Zika and Ebola viruses.
But if you ask folks what CRE is, most of them wouldn’t have a clue. They’d probably guess it was a tech startup or a trucking company.
And that’s a real problem because being in the dark about the CRE superbug, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, could be deadly.
Even though CRE infections are skyrocketing, and these ugly bugs are estimated to kill 50 percent of the people they infect, they somehow have continued to fly under the public’s radar.
CRE superbug laughs in the face of “last resort” drugs
Similar to other so-called superbugs, CRE resists being killed by antibiotics. But unlike those other bugs, CRE doesn’t respond to carbapenem either.
Unless you’re a medical professional you’re likely not familiar with carbapenem. And that’s a good thing because this antibiotic is commonly referred to as a “last resort” drug for a good reason.
Carbapenem is typically only used in life threatening situations when all other antibiotics have failed.
The goal was to protect the drug from overuse so it wouldn’t become as useless as the rest of antibiotics have. So this means that unless you face a potentially deadly infection, such as from a superbug, you probably will never encounter carbapenem.
But if you’ve put two-and-two together here, you already realize that it’s not just the common antibiotics that are ineffective against CRE, this powerful bug repels carbapenenem too. Which is one of the reasons why so many people die when their infected with it.
CRE isn’t just deadly because of its ability to resist even the big-gun antibiotics, however. The germ has a special ability that makes it even more of a threat. CRE essentially enslaves other bugs, such as common C. diff, transferring its super resistance to the captured bacteria as well.
CRE cases have exploded putting more of us at risk
CRE hits the folks who can least resist it the hardest, those who are already very ill and/or the elderly. Initially the bug tended to show up only in long-term care facilities, but nearly two years ago now a study confirmed that CRE had made the move into local community hospitals as well.
Over five years there was a fivefold increase in cases, and according to the CDC as of February 2015 CRE cases had been reported in all US states, except Idaho and Maine.
[Map courtesy of cdc.gov]
We say reported because, incredibly, as deadly as it is CRE isn’t a “nationally notifiable condition.” In other words, there’s actually no requirement to report it to the CDC. So we can’t be sure exactly how bad the situation has become.
4 steps to help raise a defense against deadly CRE
But simply being aware of this bug’s existence is the first step in turning the tide.
If you or someone else you care about is ill, going into the hospital or already in a long-term care facility you can start taking steps today to help assure you never become a CRE statistic.
Step 1: Stop overusing antibiotics
Resist the urge to take antibiotics for every sneeze, bump and cough. Remember that antibiotics are entirely useless if you’re suffering from a virus and often unnecessary for other minor infections.
Work with a naturopathic or integrative physician to figure out when an antibiotic is really needed.
Overuse of these miracle drugs is what has caused the antibiotic-resistance problem we’re facing today. Continuing to overuse them contributes to the problem. And even more important, it can make you more susceptible to acquiring a superbug infection.
Step 2: Pick a probiotic
Since the best defense is a good offense set one up against sickening and deadly germs including CRE. Start taking a quality probiotic from a maker you trust and making your gut an unfriendly environment for bad bugs.
Look for a probitoic with total CFUs (colony forming units) in the billions if you can find it. We recommend choosing one that contains good bacteria strains that have been proven effective in humans such as the following:
|Effective Probiotic Strains|
Step 3: Support your immune system
Beef up your immune system by giving it what it craves, vitamin D.
D is absolutely critical for a well-functioning immune system. Without enough vitamin D your killer T-cells, which pounce on foreign invaders and fight them off, never even get going.
Many of us are running low on vitamin D and D deficiency is quite common especially in the elderly. Raising your D levels can give your immune system the fuel it needs to fight off all kinds of ugly bugs including superbugs such as CRE.
You can start by adding more vitamin D rich foods to your diet. Following is a list of some of the foods that are richest in this vital vitamin:
|Foods Rich in Vitamin D|
|cod liver oil|
But for many people diet alone doesn’t cut it and a supplement is required. We typically recommend 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day. Check in with your doctor about testing your levels to see what amount is right for you.
Step 4: The “immunity cocktail”
Vitamin D is a great start for getting your immune system firing on all cylinders. But adding a few more immune-building supplements can turbo charge your immunities.
Build your own “immunity cocktail” by pick one or more proven immune building supplement, such as the following, to add to your routine.
|Immunity Supporting Supplements|
|Beta 1.3 glucan|
|vitamin C (intravenous C may help fight an active infection)|