A new survey from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) shows that 84% of British adults don’t wash their hands for long enough to cleanse them of the bacteria which could cause infections such as upset stomachs or pneumonia, or viruses which can cause colds and flu.
The survey highlights the fact that over the winter there is an increase in the prescribing of antibiotics for infections, some of which could have been prevented by good hand hygiene, or treated at an earlier stage by getting advice and medicines from a pharmacist.
When surveyed, 4 out of 10 people did not know that antibiotic resistance is most accurately described as bacteria becoming resistant to the drugs used to treat them. This resistance can make infections much more serious and potentially life-threatening. The rate at which resistant bacteria develop can be slowed by reducing the number of unnecessary antibiotics used.
RPS President Ash Soni said: “Preventing infection through better handwashing is essential to protect ourselves and others from becoming unwell. If we can reduce the number of illnesses where antibiotics are needed, we can reduce antibiotic resistance by saving these important medicines for when they are really required."