Hygiene tips, self-care, and ways to prevent infections!

Find out more with Professor Hallux!

Look! These squiggly-shaped bacteria are CAMPYLOBACTER. They can invade the healthy cells in your gut.

It makes the lining of the intestines look really red and sore. That prevents the gut from absorbing nutrients and water which leads to a lot of trips to the toilet and feeling very unwell!

Infections of the intestines are often called GASTROENTERITIS.

You have to remember, everyone carries microbes on their skin, mouth and in their gut. Microbes are spread easily from person to person – or from the objects around us. You don’t have to be ill to spread harmful microbes.

Let’s rewind…

Earlier on in the day, you might have been cutting up some raw chicken to make a curry. Campylobacter is a bacteria that’s very common on raw chicken.

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The food preparation might be over – but the campylobacter is just beginning its journey. If you didn’t wash your hands, that’s how campylobacter might get to his gut!

Although bacteria are everywhere, and most are perfectly harmless, in some situations it’s really important to reduce their numbers.

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We can do that in a variety of ways, including these top tips…

It’s important to wash your hands after you’ve been to the toilet.

Before you start to cook, and afterwards as well, use soap and hot water to wash your hands.

And don’t forget to wash the kitchen surfaces as well! When you are handling raw meat, don’t touch your face or mouth, cover up any cuts that you might have, and don’t let the meat touch any other ingredients – especially raw food like vegetables.

It’s important to dry your hands and the work surfaces too because some microbes are very fond of lurking in warm damp corners.

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Food hygiene is all well and good – but you can get unlucky and not even realise you’ve allowed these microbes in…

Our bodies are great at tackling all sorts of illness and infection, all by themselves. You don’t need antibiotics unless it’s a very serious bacterial infection.

If you’re ill, it’s easy to lose your appetite and just not feel hungry. That’s pretty normal. There’s no need to force yourself to eat, but you do still need to make sure you drink lots of water.

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Sweating, being sick or having to go to the toilet a lot are connected to the work your immune system is doing but can mean your body is losing a lot of fluid – replacing that fluid it will help your body to concentrate on getting you better.

Resting is important too, to enable your body to use its energy to fight the infection.

You probably won’t feel like running a marathon but it can be annoying to feel like you’re missing out on your hobbies or a game. Just remember – they’ll still be there when you’re better. So give yourself time to recover!

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Staying away from other people when you’re ill can help to prevent passing the infection around. It’s not ALWAYS good to share!

You can get some great advice from a pharmacy. There’s no need to always go to the doctor unless the infection is getting a lot worse. Even then you might not need – or even receive antibiotics. Trust your pharmacist.

Activities for you to do

Activity 1: Play e-Bug games
Chicken surprise: Can you create a chicken sandwich without harmful microbes such as campylobacter?
Kitchen mayhem: Can you click on all of the 9 things going wrong in this kitchen?

Activity 2: Kitchen Investigator
Do this fun home experiment to find out where all the microbes are hiding in your kitchen! Find out more at Kitchen Investigators

Activity 3: Do the e-Bug quiz!
Test your knowledge of microbes, infection and antibiotics by doing the quiz.

And for teachers

Run a lesson with your students on:
Hand hygiene: Primary / Secondary
Respiratory hygiene: Primary / Secondary
Food hygiene: Primary
Oral Hygiene: Primary

  1. Many infections get better on their own without antibiotics
  2. Antibiotics do not treat all infections
  3. Self-care starts at home
  4. If you do get ill, fluids and rest really help, potentially above antibiotics
  5. Local pharmacies can give advice about cough and throat remedies!

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