Leading doctors are calling for teachers to give hand washing lessons to pupils
According to new guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) the measures could help fight the rise of resistant bugs.
Nice guidance advises that teachers offer hand washing demonstrations to pupils and make sure that children have access to soap and hand sanitisers.
The health watchdog recommends that schools should also provide age-appropriate lessons on when antibiotic drugs are unnecessary.
This includes talking to pupils about illnesses that require seeing the doctor and those that do not, such as the common cold.
It is important parents help to reinforce the message that antibiotics do not react to viral infections.
These new guidelines are a response to fears that resistant bugs could claim millions more lives unless action is taken.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, warns that antimicrobial resistance is a “catastrophic threat” that could see people die of routine infections as antibiotics become ineffective.
Children do not always listen to parents when they tell them to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom or when they have finished playing.
Germs spread in many ways and children need to be aware of the consequences of touching things with dirty hands.
NHS tips for washing your hands properly include:
* Wetting hands with warm water
* Applying an adequate amount of (preferably liquid) soap
* Rubbing this thoroughly onto all hand surfaces (for at least 10 to 15 seconds)
* Rinsing thoroughly
* Drying thoroughly, preferably with disposable paper towel
* Taps should be then turned off with the paper towel to avoid re-contaminating the hands
Last month, a leading health official said that 10 million antibiotics prescriptions are handed out unnecessarily each year.