Blacklights may conjure up images of psychedelic artwork and beads hanging from the door frame, but today in Yuma, Ariz., they're used to help demonstrate just how dirty your hands can be.
At Yuma Regional Medical Center, Jill Labossiere, infection preventionist with the hospital, uses the tool to show employees where the germs are. With just a squeeze of the light reactive "Glitter Bug Potion" and a flick of a switch, the blacklight shows there organisms can cling to the hands.
"It's always a surprise," Labossiere said.
She said when people try it for the first time, it's kind of like an "ah-ha" moment because they think they're doing a good job of keep their hands clean but the blacklight tells all.
"That picture stays in your mind," she said.
Labossiere asks the participant to go back and wash his or her hands, then puts them under the blacklight again.
That way, she can tell if they're really a good hand washer because what's left behind and glowing are the spots the person missed when they washed their hands.
She said the experience teaches people a lot about good hand hygiene.
"We all wash our hands then we do an exercise like this and think 'Ah, I'll go back and wash them again,'" Labossiere said.