The Guardian recently published an article on the importance of educating youth, but about what specifically? Mathematics, good manners, perhaps chemistry? Let’s talk about hand hygiene. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) reports that good hand hygiene techniques should be promoted more to children. In effect, we can reduce the spread of infection at a young age, even reduce the utilization of antibiotics.
Now this recommendation is not just limited to elementary-age students. NICE also holds that teenagers, especially those attending universities, need to be re-educated about how they can be hygienic and the risks of spreading infection if they forget to perform certain actions, like hand washing.
Specifically for the case of meningitis, freshman are unconsciously unaware of how vulnerable they are when they do not perform simple actions like hand hygiene.
Recently in the media, it has become clear to the public, not just healthcare professionals that we are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics to decrease resistance of superbugs. According to NICE, more awareness materials need to be put around all academic facilities, to remind students that hand hygiene should always be stressed and is always what “ the cool kids” do.
We often talk about how important hand hygiene is in a healthcare setting because of the risk of infections like MRSA, C. diff, CRE, and others. However, we need to keep a constant dialogue and position that hand hygiene is not something we leave at our workplace, it is something that always needs to be practiced, and done properly.