Do Disinfectants Create Superbugs?
Updated: Apr 22
Superbugs have been on the rise due to many factors including the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Some also argue that over sterilization with chemical disinfectants can make certain germs stronger, contributing to the adaptation of superbugs.
The term “superbug” is used to describe germs that have adapted to become resistant to treatments such as antibiotics or antifungals.
A study by the National University of Ireland discovered that introducing disinfectants to laboratory cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, caused the bacteria to adapt to survive not only the disinfectant but also to common antibiotics without having ever been exposed to them. The bacteria cell had adapted to rid itself of disinfectants and antibiotics and created a mutation in its DNA to resist certain strains of antibiotics altogether.
That’s enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
A separate report from Science Transitional Medicine found that the multidrug-resistant bacterium Enterococcus faecium has and is continuing to adapt to tolerate sanitation efforts with alcohol-based disinfectants in hospitals.
Superbugs can easily get out of control. Certain resistant bacteria are known for causing pneumonia, urinary tract infections, skin infections and more which can all become very dangerous if they can’t be treated and the patient’s health is compromised.
However, cleaning is still important.
But what can we do to clean thoroughly while not contributing to the creation of superbugs? Use a disinfectant that relies on a mechanical or physical kill instead of a chemical one.
Mechanical disinfectants impale germs on contact. This means that the bug or germ cell is not only dead, but it also destroys the germs ability to reproduce; thus rendering the germ unable to adapt to the kill and keeping the superbugs from being created.
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Sources: Science Daily, Science Transitional Medicine