IOWA CITY (KWWL) - As cases of the hH1N1 virus continue to pop up, doctors are constantly reminding us one of the easiest and most basic ways to avoid spreading the bug: washing our hands.
Thursday was Global Handwashing Day, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has a yearly awareness campaign to mark the occasion. Doctors wash their hands dozens of times a day. They want the general public to know that taking just a few minutes to wash their hands a few more times a day, can make a huge difference.
Under a black light set up at the hospital, glowing hand sanitizer gave people a good idea of how clean their hands really were. But Gary Lance of Ames seems to have his technique perfected.
"Rub between the cracks of your hands, and stuff like that, and make sure you get underneath the nails and everything," Lance told us.
It comes from his experience as an operating room doctor during the Vietnam War. He knows scrubbing up is important both in and out the emergency room.
"We had to be sure that we were going to be safe and not transmit things to other people."
What was true then, is still true today. UIHC pushes its staff to keep their hands as clean as possible.
"I probably wash my hands at least 50 or 60 times a day," said Dr. Bryon Johnson, an intensive care physician. For him, avoiding the spread of infection is critical.
"We've increased the frequency of washing our hands, but we've also decreased the amount of hospital-associated infections," he explained. "Every time we go in and out of a room; we wash our hands before we enter, and we wash our hands after we leave."
Johnson says in his job, keeping his hands clean saves lives. For everyone else, it can save us a trip to the doctor's office.