A dear friend is on a 35-day course of IV antibiotics because he was exposed to the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) germ (otherwise known as a staph infection). Staph germs live on our skin and in the nasal passages of healthy people. This antiobiotic resistant bug, however, is a particular problem. Death rates soar when this bug gets in and causes pneumonia or invades the bloodstream.
My friend is 58, the picture of health (does yoga, plays tennis and golf, eats healthily, takes supplements), but he scratched a red spot on his skin (an in-grown hair) and was stricken with a deadly explosion of staph germs in his bloodstream. He thought he just needed to rest when he came down with flu-like symptoms but when the chills and shortness of breath became more dramatic, he took a buddy's advice and went to the Emergency Room.
As someone who travels widely, frequently in Latin America, my friend said, "I thought my doctor was joking when he said I could have died. All I can say is that God must have more work for me to do in this life." Phew. My friend is on the mend and it sounds like he is getting good care.
Meanwhile, I did a little research on the MRSA bug. One of the things I found most interesting is the use of a special honey, from the pollen of the Manuka shrub in New Zealand. This amazing pollen creates honey with especially powerful antibiotic properties. In addition to promising results against the pernicious MRSA bug, manuka honey fights other bad bugs, like Eschericihia coli (the food poisoning bug) and Helicobacter pylori (the peptic ulcer bug). Sweet, eh?
And, plain old supermarket honey is being evaluated for use in treating wounds. The ancients used honey to treat wounds and so do third-world country healthcare practitioners (pennies per treatment compared to other more "modern" interventions). Now researchers around the world--from the Waikato Honey Research Unit to the Wisconsin School of Medicine--are studying the use of honey as an antibacterial agent in treating hard-to-heal infections. Others continue to study the use of honey for calming cantankerous coughs. Sweet, indeed!