Daddy, you swallowed a bug

“Daddy, maybe you swallowed the bugs”

I was tucking my four year old son into bed. He asked how I was feeling and I said that I was feeling a little sick. He said ‘maybe you ate chicken that wasn’t cooked’. I explained that I had not eaten any chicken. He then said ‘maybe you touched some bugs and swallowed them’. Now, that was a plausible explanation.

This simple conversation made me think of two things:

  1. Am I talking about infection control too much with my son (or maybe we should all talk more about infection prevention with our kids)
  2. Although simple, he is onto something, that as a civilised intelligent species, we seem still not to appreciate. What I hear you ask…..

Antimicrobial resistance.

On the news today, I heard about Antarctic Sewage Contamination. Some of the most pristine oceans in the world are contaminated with raw sewage (ironically from research bases that are working in the interests of the environment).  The most stand out point is was that researchers found some mammals (e.g. seals) showing signs of antibiotics resistance.

How? Humans consume antibiotics – directly (e.g. treatment) or indirectly by consuming meat or similar products that provided antibiotics.

With the winter cold and flu season kicking off in the Southern Hemisphere, it is time we all took some personal and community responsibility by prudent antibiotic use – or even better, antibiotic avoidance. We can all talk to friends and our children about the importance of preserving this miracle drug and infection prevention.

So, my son, for a four year, has cracked something we still continue to have trouble accepting and or changing – the vicious cycle of the overuse and or misuse of antibiotics.

Just for the record, I didn’t have an antibiotics resistance diarrheal disease, nor did I end up with D+V. I must have only consumed a small dose of the bugs….


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