ROCHESTER, Minn. - The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of items to disappear from store shelves. Specifically, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. Now, some people are turning to ultra violet light to kill those germs.
Dr. John O'Horo at Mayo Clinic explained UV light does sterilize objects, but the real question is, is it worth it? UV technology has been proven to be a disinfectant at places like hospitals and labs for years now and with the coronavirus pandemic this year, more businesses, retailers and homeowners are relying on it to kill any virus that may be lingering around.
UV light has been proven to sterilize viruses if it's been exposed on a surface for long enough. Items like robots, lamps and wands can be waved over a surface and the germs will be killed off. However, Dr. O'Horo explained UV light can be more than what's actually needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "UV light is really more effective at cleaning surfaces that are already dry where it can actually get onto the surface itself, so if there's a layer of grime that's blocking the UV light from getting there or if the surface is wet and some of the microorganisms can live in there, it still needs to be wiped away before you can use that anyway," said Dr. O'Horo.
Washing your hands, wearing a mask and social distancing is the safest protection. "Above all else, you have to do the basics right and even though there's technologies like this that have a proven track record," explained Dr. O'Horo. "Whether or not that's meaningful for people who don't work in the sterilization business is yet to be proven." If you use UV light to kill bacteria, make sure you don't use it on your skin as it can cause serious damage.