Published On: Fri, May 2nd, 2014 on 10:00 am

UV experiment startles Halifax residents ahead of Hand Hygiene Day

UV Light Hands

What residents saw under UV light

Calderdale Council took to the streets of Halifax earlier this week to highlight the importance of washing hands ahead of Hand Hygiene Day.

Over 100 visitors came to the stand set up on Southgate in Halifax town centre to find out more about hand washing, and were startled once they saw their hands when placed under UV light.

They were asked to rub UV cream all over their hands then use soap and water to wash their hands as they normally would.

Hands were then placed under the light that showed up the areas of the hands missed when washed, and nearly all of the hands examined had UV cream left on them.

Gill Manojlovic, Head of Infection, Prevention and Control at Calderdale Council, said: “Visitors were surprised at the results, especially those who felt they had done a thorough hand wash.

“Typically areas that were missed were around and under fingernails, the thumbs and back of the hand.”

The stand also included historical storyboards about infection prevention, including that of Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis who demonstrated the importance of hand washing to prevent infections at a maternity unit in 1847.

He enforced strict hand washing for the treating doctors, and deaths were drastically reduced.

Ms Manojlovic advised: “How you wash your hands is key in ensuring any harmful bacteria are removed.

“Hands need to be washed before carrying out a clean task such as eating or preparing food, cleaning a cut or putting in eye drops.”

The Halifax Central Library is giving out free stickers for bathroom and kitchen sinks showing how to do a good hand washing technique.

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