Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) today discloses the shocking numbers of Brits who are falling behind on their hand washing.
Over the winter there is a huge increase in the prescribing of antibiotics for infections, which could have been prevented by good hand hygiene, or treated at an earlier stage by getting advice and medicines from a pharmacist.
Germs that cause food poisoning, pneumonia, colds and flu can easily be spread by touch. They can be picked up from contaminated surfaces, objects or people, and then passed on to others.
- 2 in 3 people (65%) don’t always wash their hands before eating
- 1 in 2 people (50%) don’t always wash their hands after handling animals, such as pets
- 1 in 3 people (32%) don’t always wash their hands before preparing food
- 1 in 5 people (21%) don’t always wash their hands after going to the toilet
Prescribing too many antibiotics is a major cause of antibiotic resistance, now a real threat to public health. Antibiotics should not be given for viral infections but often still are, due to patient demand.
Alarmingly, when surveyed, 4 out of 10 people did not know what antibiotic resistance was.
Pharmacies are conveniently located and often open in the evenings and weekends so they are easily accessible too. Your local pharmacist can:
- Advise you about the natural course of your infection and the best way to manage it
- Provide reassurance that what you are experiencing is normal, so helping to reduce unnecessary GP appointments and requests for antibiotics