‘Simulated germs’ illuminate the importance of proper hand washing to help protect against coronavirus

(WSVN) - Experts say keeping your hands clean is key to protecting yourself against the coronavirus, but since you can’t see germs, how do you know when they are actually gone? Brian Entin illuminates the issue in tonight’s 7 Investigates.

Dr. Aileen M. Marty, Baptist Health: “It is very important that we be hygienic.”

“Washing your hands.”

“Washing your hands.”

“Wash your hands often.”

We have heard it over and over again the past couple of weeks.

Experts say hand washing is the best way to protect yourself against the spread of coronavirus, but how you wash your hands — and how for long — can make a big difference.

To demonstrate that, we visited PRO-LAB, an environmental testing company in Weston.

PRO-LAB CEO James McDonnell and I rubbed a lotion called Glo Germ onto our hands.

Glo Germ simulates real germs like viruses and bacteria, and the simulated germs glow on our hands under a black light.

Brian Entin: “All right James, I’m going to wash my hands for 10 seconds, and we will see how many germs are left.”

For 10 seconds, I really went at it, washing my hands pretty thoroughly, and then, I put them back under the black light to check for germs.

Brian Entin: “Oh, wow, what do you think James?”

James McDonnell: “I think that 10 seconds is not a sufficient amount of time to clean off all the bacteria or viruses that may be present.”

Brian Entin: “A lot under the nails still?”

James McDonnell: “A lot under the nails.”

Brian Entin: “And even in the creases here.”

James McDonnell: “Yeah, crevices.”

Brian Entin: “And I didn’t get up high enough on my wrist.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands with soap and water for a solid 20 seconds to prevent coronavirus.

So, James washed his for the full recommended time, and we then tested his hands under the black light.

Brian Entin: “What do you think?”

James McDonnell: “A lot better.”

Brian Entin: “Almost nothing.”

James McDonnell: “Yep, the longer you wash your hands, the better off you are.”

And based on our non-scientific experiment, it’s not just about the length of time you wash your hands.

You should also wash each finger one by one and pay special attention to under your nails.

James McDonnell, pro-lab CEO: “I think it’s really important for people to realize, especially with what’s going on with the coronavirus, that they actually go in and they wash their fingers individually, wash around the nail beds, their knuckles, the areas that can actually hold the germs a lot better.”

And you might be wondering about hand sanitizer and how well it works.

We had James’ employee, Joey, apply hand sanitizer, and then, put his hands under the black light.

Brian Entin: “What do you think?”

James McDonnell: “Looks better. It’s still actually a lot in the nail beds, which I think if you’re washing your hands would come out like ours did.”

The hand sanitizer did a pretty good job but not as good as hand washing, which backs up the CDC research that says old fashioned, thorough hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of disease.

For more information:

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
www.cdc.gov/handwashing/

CONTACT 7INVESTIGATES:
305-627-CLUE
954-921-CLUE
clue@wsvn.com

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