TORONTO – Thursday is Global Handwashing Day and whether it’s a quick rinse or thorough scrub, proper hand washing helps keep harmful germs away and protects people from getting people sick.
But does your handwashing routine do the trick?
An ultraviolet light and cream can now determine how well people wash their hands.
The newly introduced cream simulates where bacteria collects and an ultraviolet flash light identifies trouble spots.
“This is very simple technology that we use to demonstrate what you have to do adequately clean your hands,” said Dr. Allison McGeer, Mount Sinai Hospital’s director of Infection Control.
“You can’t see bacteria, so you can’t tell how well you’ve done it.”
Proper handwashing usually takes 30 to 45 seconds and friction is required to remove bacteria from the skins surface.
McGeer said many people are unaware that proper hand washing takes a lot more time.
“You think that if you put your hands under running water with some soap, that you are going to fix the problem,” she said.
“You have to get soap into contact because you actually have to emulsify the grease that’s on your hands from all the natural oils that is on your hands so that you can remove the dirt. Then when you rinse you also need friction to remove that.”
Many people tweeted #GlobalHandwashingDay on Thursday as a reminder of the importance of maintaining proper hand cleanliness.
With cold season fast approaching, McGeer said there are a few things people need to keep in mind when trying to stay healthy.
“Number one: get your flu shot, number two: get your flu shot, number four: wash your hands and number five … if you’re sick stay home and stay away from other people,” she said.