Home experiment reveals how quickly germs can spread

Experts: Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds
Posted at 1:26 PM, Mar 13, 2020

DENVER, Colo. -- As with most illnesses - the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by washing your hands frequently and properly.

That may not be as easy as it sounds, especially when it comes to young kids.

What we know about the new coronavirus is that experts say it can live on surfaces like countertops, your hands, even a glass of water for anywhere from two hours to nine days.

Russell Haythorn with KMGH used the Glo Germ testing kit to show how quickly it can spread and how many surfaces it's able to contaminate.

Haythorn enlisted his two kids to help us out, wiping the non-toxic Glo Germ simulated germ powder all over their hands. Then, he let them loose with one rule: don't touch your face.

After a while, they flipped on a black light and the germs were everywhere. Within 10 minutes, the powder was all over the house. And, all over their faces, too.

It underscores the importance of washing your hands.

"And so, that means for at least 20 seconds - making lots of bubbles and foam when you wash your hands," said Dr. Suchitra Rao, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Rao and other experts say you can hum the happy birthday song twice or sing your ABCs, which are both about 20 seconds or so.

"For sure, after you use the bathroom, wash your hands," Rao said. "And for sure before you eat anything."

This story was originally published by Russell Haythorn at KMGH.