Microbes are developing resistance to antimicrobial medicines such as antibiotics and antifungals. This means some of these medicines are no longer effective at treating specific infections. This is called antimicrobial resistance.
This experiment illustrates antimicrobial resistance.
What you will need
As with any experiment please take care. When popping balloons, do not do this near someone's face, nor in a place where it might give someone an unnecessary shock. Please take care using sharp pins, and ensure children are adequately supervised at all times. Experiments should be enjoyable and safe.
1. Blow up some balloons.
These represent non-resistant microbes.
2. Carefully try popping these balloons with the pin.
This represents killing microbes with antimicrobial medicines- see how easy this is?
3. Now add a square of tape onto another balloon.
This represents the microbe changing and developing resistance to antimicrobial medicines.
4. Carefully try popping this balloon with the pin on the square of tape.
The balloon becomes more difficult to pop- this represents resistance, which makes microbes more difficult to kill. As resistance is usually specific to one (or a few) medicines, alternative medicines can sometimes be used. When a microbe is resistant to all possible medicines, the infection becomes untreatable- this can be life threatening.