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Fun Way To Help Kids Improve Their Hand Hygiene With 'Glowing Hands' In The Waiting Room

Use of a glowing gel that shows kids how well they wash their hands by illustrating bacteria they missed while washing, may significantly improve hand hygiene, according to a study published in the July issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. What makes this particular intervention unique is where it was performed: a children's hospital emergency department waiting room.

"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," said Dr. Anna Fishbein, a physician and researcher at Northwestern University's Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and the study's lead author.

The researchers recruited 60 pediatric patients waiting to be seen by a doctor to participate in the study, which involved the application of Glo Germ Gel to the kids' hands. Under a black light, the gel creates a yellow glow in areas where dirt and germs are present. After seeing the dirty spots, the participants were asked to wash their hands with soap and water as they normally would. After washing, the researchers put the black light over the kids' hands again, revealing the spots they had missed when washing. The hands were rated both before and after washing on a four-point cleanliness scale from "very dirty" to "very clean."

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