Researchers from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford BISQIT (Behaviour, Implementation Science and Qualitative methods in Infections) team engaged the public about behaviours to promote preventing common infections and less unnecessary antibiotic use as part of the Oxford Science + Ideas Festival.
On Saturday 7 October, researchers held an activity stand, called Battling the Bugs, in the festival’s Explorazone in the centre of Oxford. The activities, mostly directed at children, aimed to promote behaviours, such as regular and correct hand washing, that help prevent common respiratory infections. Microbe toys and colouring sheets illustrated harmful and helpful germs and helped explain why antibiotics are not always helpful as they don’t kill viruses but do harm our ‘good’ microbes. We asked the public for how long they thought common infections last – we find that people often underestimate the typical length of infections, which may lead them to seek antibiotics unnecessarily. We also explored all the things we can all do to prevent infections, from preventing the spread of germs to getting better without antibiotics. We found that children are very familiar with the importance of washing hands. Using UV light, we showed them how we can all improve the way we wash our hands.
Oxford Science + Ideas Festival runs until 29th October. You can view the programme on if-oxford.com, with lots of events and talks across Oxford to choose from.