Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has emphasised the importance of continued regular handwashing in maintaining continued resistance to spread of viral and bacterial infections.

Speaking in a Scottish Parliament debate on antimicrobial resistance, the SNP MSP pointed out that handwashing carries far less risk of encouraging bacteria to develop a resistance than constant use of hand sanitiser, which many have taken to using daily since the COVID-19 outbreak, does.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“It might seem like a little thing but continuing to regularly wash your hands is something that all of us should try to maintain as we progress in our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Handwashing is invaluable in maintaining antimicrobial resistance. It is an essential part of how we avoid the pandemics of the future – just washing your hands for forty seconds will prevent bacteria from developing resistance to antimicrobials, becoming what is typically known as a ‘superbug’.

“You should also avoid overuse of alternatives to handwashing, such as hand sanitiser. Anti-infectives absolutely have their place in hygiene but if they are used too widely, this may result in them becoming less effective over time as bacteria adapt. We all have a responsibility to ensure this does not happen.”