Glow-In-The-Dark Hands Are Cleaner

A Recent study published in the July issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology teaches children about the importance of hand-washing hygiene, while waiting in a hospital emergency department. By using a gel that glows, children can see how effective their hand washing technique actually is, and be entertained while waiting.

According to Dr. Anna Fishbein, a physician and researcher at Northwestern University’s Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago (and the study’s lead author): “Waiting for the doctor is usually a tiresome and unproductive experience, but we were able to turn the waiting room into an interactive education center to help kids improve their hand hygiene.”

The study relied upon 60 pediatric patients waiting for the doctor. By using Glo Germ Gel and a black light, children could see areas where direct and germs remained (the gel creates a yellow glow in these areas). After seeing the areas with a yellow glow, the children washed their hands with ordinary soap and water. After a second application of the gel under a black light, the hands of the children were cleaner, and under a four-point cleanliness scale, they went from “very dirty” to “very clean.”

“We found that using the gel alone to illustrate the areas of hands that may not be getting clean, even without verbal education, improves children’s hand hygiene,” said Dr. Mary Groll, also of Children’s Memorial and the study’s principal investigator. “Considering the importance of hand hygiene in disease prevention, the implications of this study will have lasting impact in this community’s effort to decrease the spread of illness.”