Tool shows how germs spread across fingers

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Wednesday, Duke University Researchers showed CBS North Carolina just how easily germs can spread during Flu Season using a special tool called Glo Germ.

So far this year, 67 people have died from the flu in North Carolina. Some doctors say the spread of the flu may get worse before it gets any better.

One of the biggest issues with the spread of the flu is that germs, naked to the eye, travel so quickly.

With the help of Duke University researchers, CBS North Carolina dug deeper into how fast those germs can spread.

Scott Alderman, Associate Director of the Global Health Research Building at Duke University, and Rose Asrican, a lab analyst, introduced CBS North Carolina to Glo Germ.

Glo Germ is a powder or liquid; invisible to the naked eye, but under ultraviolet light appears.

Asrican applied the Glo Germ to her hands for our cameras. She then proceeded to go about her normal work-day for a few minutes: typing, answering phone calls, taking notes, responding to emails.

After a few minutes, Alderman turned off the lights revealing the path of the Glo Germ.

“I only touched the key board and the mouse and there was still Glo Germ everywhere else,” said Asrican.

Asrican says that is how fast the flu can spread.

“Even if you think you’re clean or not infected it’s easy for things to spread around,” she said.

One of the most surprising aspects of the experiment was even washing your hands was not enough to remove all of the Glo Germ.

“I’m taught to wash my hands thoroughly, because I work with infectious diseases. And it’s still there,” said Asrican.

“That’s how germs are spread,” said Alderman.

Both researchers say it’s possible to stop the spread of diseases. They suggest coughing and sneezing into your arm, instead of your hand. They also say washing your hands thoroughly; singing “Happy Birthday” in your head twice before turning the water off will ensure a thorough wash.