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Antibacterial Cleaners Increase Molds
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In a study published in the journal Nature Microbiology, what the researchers found from the wide cross section of urban and rural living was surprising:
“The degree of urbanization correlated with changes in the composition of house bacterial communities, increased the relative abundance of human skin-associated fungi and bacteria in houses.”
Cleaning products may be encouraging Fungi
Many people are aware of the serious dangers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are caused by excessive antibiotic usage. But do fungi also become resistant to cleaning products and chemicals as the study suggested?
Urbanization includes many harmful factors
As would be expected, the researchers found molecules from medications and cleaning agents in urban homes but not in the rural or rainforest homes. In rural or rainforest homes, there was a greater variety of bacteria and fungi that live outdoors and fewer that colonize the human body and are harmful.
Western Medications deplete Beneficial Bacteria
The repeated use of antibiotics, seen in urban environments and seldom in rainforest and rural environments, may raise the risk for Type 2 diabetes by altering gut bacteria
Human Fungal Infections are increasing
In the last few decades, fungal infections have increased, mostly because of the growing population of immunocompromised individuals undergoing intensive chemotherapy and those with HIV.
Fungicides may be a factor in the Fungal Boom
The emergence of aggressive, drug-resistant fungi could also stem from fungicides used agriculturally. The wide use of chemicals with one specific means of killing fungi in agriculture, known as single-target-site fungicides, could morph into more drug-resistant fungal infections in humans, say experts.
Spread of Fungal Infections is an Environmental Red Flag
The spread of fungal infections raises many questions. The discovery of a greater incidence of fungi in urban areas suggests that the pathogens may be becoming resistant to cleaning products or even opportunistically replacing bacteria that have been eliminated since, as they say, "nature abhors a vacuum."
The preponderance of the urban-located fungi also highlights the unhealthy aspects of urban living. Major questions also exist about environmental change and the use of agricultural fungicides, both of which could be causing or contributing to fungal resistance. The phenomenon of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from excessive farm use in livestock is well-documented and another significant danger.
How Can You Avoid Infections?
Minimizing your use of antibacterial cleaners may help protect the natural diversity of microorganisms in your home and on your body, but you can also help to avoid infections — including fungal infections — by boosting your immune system. Toward this end:
Exercise regularly — Exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at locating and eliminating pathogens in your body. Make sure your fitness plan incorporates weight training, high-intensity exercises, stretching and core work.
Get plenty of restorative sleep — Recent research shows sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or disease, which is why you may feel ill after a sleepless night.
Have good stress-busting outlets — High levels of stress hormones can diminish your immunity, so be sure you’re implementing some sort of stress management. Meditation, prayer, yoga and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are all excellent strategies for managing stress, but you’ll have to find what works best for you.
Optimize your vitamin D levels — Studies have shown that inadequate vitamin D can increase your risk for MRSA and other infections, which can likely be extended to other superbugs. Your best source of vitamin D is through exposing your skin to the sun, but supplementation may also be necessary.
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A dollar bill has 3,000 types of bacteria.
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The strongest creatures on Earth are gonorrhea bacteria. They can pull 100,000 times their own body weight.
In 2013, a bacteria was found in New Zealand that's resistant to every single antibiotic known.
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