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Bristol families needed to join the fight against antibiotic resistance

Bristol City Council has teamed up with Public Health England and We the Curious to join the fight against antibiotic resistance during the World Health Organisation’s Antibiotic Awareness Week (13 – 19 November).

Children and families visiting We The Curious (formerly At-Bristol Science Centre) from 13-27 November will be able to take part in a range of new activities to help them understand why it’s important to only take antibiotics when you really need them.

It is estimated that approximately 5,000 people die in England each year because antibiotics no longer work for some infections. Public Health England’s e-Bug  team have helped to design the new activities for We The Curious; entitled ‘Poo, Bacteria, Antibiotics and Other Stories’, activities include an interactive game where kids make poo out of Play-Doh to learn about antibiotic resistant microbes and bacteria that live in the human gut. e-Bug is a free educational resource for 4-18 year olds, that aims to increase young people's understanding on antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, hygiene and the spread of infection.

Visitors will be able to meet visiting researchers and scientists, who will working alongside facilitators from We The Curious’ Live Science Team to find out more about the research process, and how it all works.

There will also be a range of different objects on display including tuna cans, toy boats and boots to get families thinking about the surprising uses of antibiotics outside of healthcare. These objects will also be used to showcase exciting scientific research being carried out in Bristol to tackle antibiotic resistance.

Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “Families have an important role to play in the fight against antibiotic resistance and by working with We The Curious we’re hoping to make this topic fun and interesting. It’s important that conversations around when it’s ok to take antibiotics, and when symptoms should be managed in different ways, take place in many different situations from workplaces and schools to GP surgeries. We all have a role to play in staying ahead of the superbugs.”

Other practical activities include a game to teach children the importance of hand washing by using UV gel to highlight how bacteria can spread through poor hand hygiene. To engage teens and young adults with the activities, e-Bug have also teamed up with The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to create an antibiotic resistance themed Snapchat filter which will be mapped to We The Curious on European Antibiotic Awareness Day (Saturday 18 November).

Children and families visiting that day will be able to take an antibiotic and microbe selfie on their own device while interacting with the activities. At the end of the day parents, carers and children can sign up to be ‘antibiotic guardians’ and leave a pledge detailing how they’ll help.

Chaamala Klinger, consultant in communicable diseases at Public Health England, said: “We’ve designed these activities to help children and families really understand what antibiotic resistance is all about, in line with our national ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign. This is not just a distant threat, but is in fact one of the most dangerous global crises facing the modern world today. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk of developing infections which in turn cannot be easily treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Always take advice from your GP on this.”

For further information on antibiotics, their uses and the risk of resistance, search ‘NHS Antibiotics’ online, or for family-friendly games and activities visit: http://www.e-bug.eu/