Comparison of Science and Non-science Major Students’ Awareness of Bacterial Resistance and their Hygiene Practices

Abstract: 

For years, people have been overusing antibacterial products, resulting in bacteria that are insusceptible to antibacterial products. This is due to misconceptions that surround antibacterial products. Studies have shown that many people aren’t aware of the dangers of antibacterial products, and expect a prescription of antibiotics upon doctor visits even in cases where antibiotics do not help. A common misconception, held by many, is the belief that antibacterial hand-washing products are more effective than normal hand-washing products. Similarly, many believe that antibacterial products are more effective when used in large amounts. However, studies reveal that these conceptions are faulty. Other studies show that education, especially science education, can help students understand more about hand hygiene. However, studies do not concentrate on students’ awareness of bacterial resistance, which is something I would like to test: Does the differing education provided to a science major and non-science major students affect their awareness of antibacterial resistance? This study tests whether biological science students are in fact more knowledge and, therefore, less likely to overuse antibacterial products. The results of the observational study and student survey reveal some surprising anomalies: while science majors are more likely to have heard about the dangers of microbial resistance, neither group frequently uses antibacterial products in recreational settings or in biology labs.

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