New Brunswick, N.J. (Nov. 23, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Donald W. Schaffner, a food microbiologist who has also studied handwashing for more than 20 years, is available for interviews on the science and benefits of handwashing during the COVID-19 pandemic and overall.
“Many people think that when you are washing your hands, hot water is better, but science tells us this is not true,” said Schaffner, an extension specialist in food science and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Food Science in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. “If the water was hot enough to destroy germs on your hands, it would also burn your hands. Research in our lab has shown that whether people wash their hands in water at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, 80 degrees or 100 degrees, there was no difference in handwashing effectiveness. The most important thing is to use a water temperature that is comfortable so you can be sure to do a good job washing your hands. I recommend washing your hands with soap and be sure to lather for at least 15 seconds.”
“While there might not be any published data on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and handwashing, we have no reason to think that it behaves differently from any other pathogens,” said Schaffner, who focuses on predictive food microbiology and quantitative microbial risk assessment. “If your hands are not physically dirty, such as with actual dirt, chicken juice or ground beef, a quick and effective alternative is to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.”
Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at firstname.lastname@example.org
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