Nurse demonstrates germs on hands

July 12, 2012 at 10:54 PM

BETHESDA, Md., July 12 (UPI) -- This may be old hat for food service industry workers, but a U.S. hospital has demonstrated how dirty and germy hands can be, even after washing.

The National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center, its research hospital, had a Hand Hygiene Awareness Day -- a kind of hand-washing health fair.

Research nurse Amina Oughourli did a demonstration in which she got to see what she missed after she washed her hands in a slip-shod way.

"What showed up was a kind of gunk glow-in-the-dark," Oughourli said in a statement. "I did the dark light simulation with the dirt, and it was pretty gruesome, so I'm going to be washing my hands pretty vigilantly -- even more so than I was before."

There are an estimated 2.5 million hospital-acquired infections each year -- some are fatal and are counted among the estimated 100,000 deaths from preventable hospital errors each year. Better hand washing is often considered "step 1," in reducing infections.

Experts suggest a good 20 seconds of hand-washing with warm water and soap can do wonders to help stop the spread of pathogens that cause infections, Oughourli said.

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