Fun Kids’ resident professor, Professor Hallux, has got some MRSA cells under his microscope! Take a look…
Do you see those cocci bundled together like grapes?
They look like big puffy balls, lurking around in groups! Their shape – large clumps of spherical cells – is very common to the STAPHYLOCOCCUS variety of bacteria.
They can double in number every twenty minutes or so. Luckily, antibiotics can help kill some bacteria – but others might not be affected by the antibiotics at all!
Unfortunately MRSA bacteria, like some other microbes, is resistant to many types of antibiotics – they’re what we call SUPERBUGS.
Superbugs are bacteria which are more resistant to antibiotics and are difficult to kill. There are several different types – MRSA is one, some ECOLI and KLEBISELLA are others.
Work is at hand to develop new antibiotics but that can take time. One easy thing we can all do is help prevent infections from taking hold – and we can do that with good hygiene.
Always wash hands before eating – and that includes snacks –otherwise it will be more than just food that gets in.
Use a tissue when you sneeze, then wash your hands. In fact, as microbes live everywhere, we should wash hands even when they don’t look dirty. Our bodies are very good at beating infections all by themselves – and with a little helpful hygiene, we can avoid the need to use antibiotics at all!
Because antibiotics are used so frequently, bacteria have had time to adapt and mutate to resist them.
Doctors want these drugs to keep working, and to do that antibiotics should ONLY be used when they’re really needed – for severe infections – not coughs and colds, ear-ache or sore throats.
Overusing or sharing antibiotics increases the number of superbugs with mutations which can’t be killed by antibiotics – or your body’s defences.
Activities for you to do
Activity 1: Pledge to be an Antibiotic Guardian! Visit the Antibiotic Guardian website to create a pledge for how YOU can help protect antibiotic and keep them working for nasty bacterial infections. This could be to make sure you wash your hands to prevent infections spreading, or using antibiotics as your doctor or pharmacist tells you to.
- Antibiotic resistance is when bacteria mutate and can no longer be killed by these medicines.
- There are different types of antibiotic resistant bacteria (examples of high priority species e.g. MRSA, E. coli, Klebisiella).
- Healthy and ill people can carry antibiotic resistant bacteria in their gut.
- Taking antibiotics encourages bacteria to become resistant.
- Bacteria can spread antibiotic resistance genes to each other!
Professor Hallux’s Antibiotics, supported by e-Bug and Public Health England.
Explore all the free Fun Kids podcasts!
Download a series to listen to on your phone, tablet or in the car!