The introduction of antibiotics dealt a serious blow to the bacteria that attacks our bodies. But it wasn’t a deadly one. And different forms of bacteria have spent the last few decades evolving. Some of these “superbugs” are now totally resistant to antibiotics, and they are basically teaching other bacteria how to resist them as well. Here’s a great overview of the problem from Fresh Air’s Terry Gross and journalist David Hoffman: Antibiotics Can’t Keep Up With Nightmare Superbugs. “In the period before World War II … people that got infections, they had to cut it out. They had to cut off limbs, cut off toes, because there weren’t antibiotics. And oftentimes, when people talk about the fact that we might have to go back to a pre-antibiotic age, that’s what they mean — that a simple scrape on the playground could be fatal.”

+ And here’s a Frontline special (available for viewing online): Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria. The contents of this documentary were summed up well by my friend Mera, who follows health trends as closely as anyone I know: “Now there’s a strain or two that have arrived in the States that can teach our local pansy-assed bacteria how to become antibiotic resistant. It’s enough to make me want to wrap the family in saran.”