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Staying Safe in Flu Season

Staying Safe in Flu Season

Posted - Oct. 14, 2004 at 9:21 p.m.



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Nadine Wimmer ReportingWith the current shortage of flu vaccine many of us won't be able to get a flu shot. So Nadine rolled up her sleeves and found a way to help your family Stay Safe in flu season. And before you roll your eyes, we've heard this before, let us show you what's still on your hands, even when they look clean.

Since germs are too small to see, the State Health Department uses a white substance to simulate what would coat our hands with a sneeze or a cough.

A quick wash in the sink and you’re germ free, right? A black light shows the creases of my hands are still covered. The light also shows a contaminated soap dispenser and water faucet.

What about those of us who wash with special anti-bacterial soap? The black light shows your hands would be even worse, the "glo-germ" spread all the way up the wrists.

We compared washing with warm water and no soap. A little better, but still not clean. Only our subject who washed vigorously for a full 20 seconds came out germ-free.

Kim Barrus, Utah AWARE: “The study I’m familiar with, it didn’t matter which soap it was, as long as it had a soap. Use water, use soap, you wash for at least 20 seconds.”

She performs hand washing presentations for schools and daycares around the valley. Here's why she tells them to wash often. A simple handshake left our clean subject lightly dusted with glo-germs.

And as our subject with the dirty hands leaves the room, she infects the door. Would you want to touch that door now?

Christie Dickson, State Health Dept.: “It really would be the most important thing you can personally do, if you can’t get vaccinated, to prevent the spread of germs from person to person.”

So remember, warm water, soap and wash for 20 seconds. It will prevent not only flu but a lot of other illnesses for which there aren't vaccinations. And if you'd like a hand washing presentation at your office or kids' school, visit the Utah Aware web site.

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