Poor home hygiene contributing to antibiotic resistance

New York: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the researchers have found that poor home hygiene is contributing to antibiotic resistance and following a risk-based approach is essential to help curb the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply causing more harm.

According to the Global Hygiene Council’s (GHC) public health experts, it is estimated that rates of resistance to commonly-used antibiotics could exceed 40-60 per cent in some countries by 2030.

The GHC’s experts are calling for a review of hygiene practices in homes and everyday life to ensure that they are effective and appropriate to the urgent public health issues we currently face, such as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Covid-19.

In the study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, GHC the experts set out the evidence showing that better hygiene in our homes and everyday lives plays an essential part in tackling antibiotic resistance.

Good hygiene contributes to the fight against AMR in two ways, by preventing infection, thereby reducing the need for antibiotic prescribing and preventing person to person spread of infections which are antibiotic-resistant.

The paper reviews evidence that to minimize the spread of infections in home and community settings, a more focused approach to hygiene based on risk assessment is needed.

For example, removing infection-spreading germs from high-risk surfaces and hands at critical times, such as when preparing food and using the toilet, has been proven to minimise the spread of infections from person to person.

One intervention study demonstrates that improved hand hygiene amongst a group of children in a day centre can reduce the need for antibiotic use for common respiratory infections by 30 per cent.

“Instead of deep-cleaning our homes, we urge everyone to maintain this evidence-based Targeted Hygiene approach in our homes and everyday lives,” said study author Sally Bloomfield from GHC.

“Focusing on the times and places harmful microbes are most likely to spread, to not only help contain the spread of coronavirus now but ongoing to help tackle AMR,” Bloomfield noted.