Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World by Jessica Snyder SachsWhat a fantastic book to read while sick! When I started Good Germs, Bad Germs, I had just come down with a respiratory tract infection, and by the time I finished it I had succumbed to a feisty gastrointestinal virus, along with the majority of my family. I lay in bed, imagining staphylococcus aureus leaving its sweet spot in my nose and dripping down into my lungs, where it could colonize and cause pneumonia. I noted my bad breath and imagined the streptococcus mutans lining up shoulder to shoulder in my dental plaque, and promised myself I would drag myself out of bed to dislodge them, no matter how ill I felt. I pictured whatever microorganism causing my nausea multiplying rapidly and excreting their nasty byproducts until finally, when my stomach lining reached its toxic threshold, I expelled it all (over and over again. For 12 hours.) Now I am imagining how the landscape of my digestive tract is riddled beyond recognition, the virus having expunged all the protective bacterium that normally call it home. Im eating yogurt, full of probiotics, trying to repopulate my guts with helpful lactobacilli, so that someday I will be able to properly digest food again. Im hoping and praying that my natural ecosystem will balance itself out in my favor, soon.
The premise of this book is scary stuff. While we are so, SO fortunate to live in this day and age of sanitation, vaccines, and antibiotics -- the American life span has more than doubled since 1776 -- it seems we are starting to pay the proverbial piper. We in the developed world have increasingly high rates of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (atherosclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, lupus, MS, etc.,) allergies (both disturbing and life-threatening,) and even depression, all of which were almost unheard of before the 1800s and advent of public sanitation (waste collection, sewer systems, refrigeration, etc.) People in undeveloped areas of the world rarely suffer from these maladies. Of course they also may still die from dysentery or cholera, and before the age of 50, but it is what it is -- have we traded quality of life for quantity of life?
Antibiotics -- stop abusing them! Please, please PLEASE do not ask your doctor for antibiotics when you have a cold. Or even the flu, usually. Antibiotics kill BACTERIA, and the majority of every-day illnesses are caused by VIRUSES. If you take antibiotics when you are suffering from a viral infection, a couple things will happen: 1. You might feel a little better, possibly via placebo effect. But! 2. Your antibiotic will kill lots of bacteria that are beneficial to your body, particularly your digestive system. 3. It can cause antibiotic-resistance among any remaining bacteria, which may prove problematic later on, because apparently bacteria can swap genes and practice all kinds of unfair warfare when they want to dominate. And this will not only affect you and your body, but EVERYONE. I have always known somewhat about antibiotic resistance, and tried to do my part by not using them indiscriminately, finishing my course, etc., but I have naively thought that because I wasnt personally abusing them, they will work for me someday when I need them. Not so. Due to widespread human and agricultural use (DONT GET ME STARTED ON AGRICULTURAL USE!) virtually every antibiotic out there has encountered resistance, and these antibiotic-resistant bacteria show up EVERYWHERE, even in people who havent taken antibiotics for years.
Oh, the fear! MRSA (flesh-eating bacteria,) sepsis, pneumococcal pneumonia, massive infections shutting down organs! Fortunately, the last part of this book gives a little hope. While researchers are every trying to develop new antibiotics, the real promise looks to be in the field of PRObiotics. Our bodies are covered in microbes from the second we are born, and our health depends on the good ones that muscle out the bad ones. If we can promote the growth and colonization of beneficial microbes, there will be no room for the diseases-causing ones. I love one of the last chapters in the book that quotes microbiologist David Thaler, who imagines that we will soon stop waging warfare on germs via all our hand-sanitizers and lysol wipes, and instead deliberately seeding our environment with carefully selected strains and species. We will no longer douse our hands, faces, and bodies with antibacterial soaps; we will wash them with probiotic mixtures shown to enhance health…. Instead of futilely trying to disinfect public bathrooms, cleaning crews will spray toilets and doorknobs with tenaciously territorial good bugs. Subway straphangers will grab onto handholds impregnated with bacteria that kill cold and flu viruses on contact. (pg. 215)
Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World was published in 2007. I dont know how far some of this research in probiotics has gone in the past seven years, but I am hopeful. I do know that our FDA causes everything to move at a snails pace, so in the meantime, Ill be doing my best not to get sick. (Again.) And as a side note -- this book makes no mention of nutrition, but its been proven since the time of plagues that those with the best nutrition stand the best chance of survival from all kinds of pestilence. Eat your vegetables!
Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World
Contents: 0 TrackBacks See a Problem? Read more Read less. Add both to Cart Add both to List. These items are shipped from and sold by different sellers. Customers who bought this item also bought.
Science writer Sachs Corpse makes a strong case for a new paradigm for dealing with the microbial life that teems around and within us. Taking both evolutionary and ecological approaches, she explains why antibiotics work so well but are now losing their effectiveness. She notes that between agricultural antibiotic usage and needless prescriptions written for human use, antibiotic resistance has reached terrifying levels. Sachs also presents evidence suggesting that an epidemiclike rise in autoimmune diseases and allergies may be attributable to our misguided frontal assault on the bacterial world. The solution proposed is to encourage the growth of healthy, displacement-resistant microbial ecological communities and promote research that disrupts microbial processes rather than simply attempting to kill the germs themselves.
You also may like to try some of these bookshops , which may or may not sell this item. Separate different tags with a comma. To include a comma in your tag, surround the tag with double quotes.
édouard louis history of violence
Table of Contents for: Good germs, bad germs : health and survi
Welcome to Science Talk, the weekly podcast of Scientific American for the seven days starting October 24th. I am Steve Mirsky. This week on the podcast: Germs. Plus, we'll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news. She has been adjunct faculty in journalism at Fordham, N. Her first book was called, Corpse —more on that later.
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again.
Good Germs, Bad Germs tells the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs. It also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones. Sponsored Products are advertisements for products sold by merchants on Amazon. When you click on a Sponsored Product ad, you will be taken to an Amazon detail page where you can learn more about the product and purchase it. To learn more about Amazon Sponsored Products, click here. Jessica Snyder Sachs is a freelance science writer.