Antimicrobial resistance is a problem that is happening now and will get worse without action at all levels so we must all play our part. There are already common infections that are resistant to antimicrobials. Without sustained changes to the way we manage infections and protect these medicines, some routine medical procedures will become fatal. Global estimates suggest that more than 700,000 people die every year from drug-resistant strains of common bacterial infections, HIV, TB and malaria. If antimicrobial resistance continues to increase, this number could rise to 10 million a year by 2050, with people dying from ordinary infections, or from routine operations due to the risk of infection.
Education is key to this issue, and that’s why Public Health England has made recommendations for a whole range of ages; from preschool settings to residential and day care settings for older people. They have a dedicated e-bug team providing learning resources so that children learn about germs, how they spread and why hygiene is important. They also discuss drug resistance, explaining how reducing the spread of infections will mean we do not need to take as many antibiotics, which will help to protect these medicines.
A hygienic lifestyle encompasses both physical and emotional health. For children, good health and hygiene practices go hand-in-hand with effective learning. Equally, learning about having a healthy and hygienic lifestyle helps give children the independence and confidence to make well-informed decisions about their health, which have life-long implications.
A child with poor personal hygiene may feel ostracised from school by the reactions of their peers, and often teaching staff are unsure of how to address the issue. For this child, the school environment can quickly become a very negative place, with their learning experiences becoming tainted by their social interactions.
They can become withdrawn and lose a great deal of confidence. This then affects their motivation and stimulation to learn.
Lack of proper hygiene in children can also make them more susceptible to contracting illnesses such as stomach bugs, causing absences from school.