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This week I saw an interesting program about the use of UV-C light to fight germs and viruses. As a professional germophobe, I was very interested. I feel like germs are lurking everywhere when I head out…
This is all a bit technical for me, but after reading about the technology, I’ll try to explain it as I understand it.
We all know about ultraviolet light. It comes in three types: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. We are all told to wear sunscreen to protect our skin from the UV-A and UV-B, as they can damage the skin.
UV-C light has long been used as a disinfectant to kill microorganisms. It destroys their nucleic acids and carries the most energy capable of destroying the bonds that hold the DNA and RNA together in viruses and bacteria. This is how it stops them from working.
UV-C light is used globally to treat surfaces, water, and air, and is not new technology. My dentist has a filtration system in her office that uses it.
We haven’t had an urgent reason to implement this technology at a personal level until the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus. While I was unaware of it, apparently there was a lot of interest in using UV-C light to combat the outbreak of the H1N1 virus in 2009.
With hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in scarce supply, many have been looking at alternative ways to sanitize their environment.
So while watching this program about UV-C light to combat germs, they presented a product called a Zap Band. It looks like a FitBit and is worn on the wrist. When activated, it emits UV-C light to sanitize the surface at which it is pointed.
It is recommended that you focus the light at the surface for 60 seconds for full effect. Now, I don’t think it’s practical to stand at an entrance for a full minute to sanitize a door handle before entering, so that’s a situation where I would use a No-Touch Keychain Tool to open the door.
But I can totally see using it to sanitize keypads, a cell phone, silverware in restaurants, tray tables and arm rests on airplanes, countertops, and other surfaces.
For instance, I think this would work well when ordering my weekly Starbucks. 🙂 I could start the sanitizing process while placing my order, and by the time I am prompted to pay, the keypad is clean.
The Zap Band takes an hour to charge initially, and then you just recharge when needed. It has a running time of a full hour without needing a charge, so in theory, that is 60 uses per charge. It has an ON/OFF button, and you just activate it each time you wish to use it.
Some important things to note about the Zap Band:
- It is not water resistant
- You should never look directly at the lights on the band, or point them at anyone’s eyes
- Do not use the lights on skin or on animals
- Children should not use it without supervision
Since I have no way of showing you scientific proof or before and after pictures of germy surfaces, I decided not to wait until my order arrives, but to go ahead and tell you about this little gadget right now in case you’d like to order one for yourself or your family. I have ordered some for our household.
Also, for the time being, there is a discount code you can use to get 20% off each order. Just use the code ExtraZapBand during checkout to receive the discount. The Zap Bands normally sell for $49.99, but with the discount, you will save $10.
You can purchase the bands at uvczapband.com.
Now, if you do get one and want to try out it’s effectiveness, there is a “banana test” that you can do to test it. Using an underripe banana, shining the light on its skin for about 15 minutes will allow you to see a discoloration of the banana skin if it is in fact receiving UV-C light.
I’m no scientist, but I think this sounds like a fun experiment. 🙂
UPDATE: Since I wrote this post, I have since received my order of Zap Bands, and decided to do the banana experiment to see if they work. So I used some painter’s tape to block off a section of a banana.
I then exposed the skin of the banana to the UV-C light for 15 minutes. This was a bit tedious, since the light on the band stays on for 1 minute before shutting off automatically. So I set a timer for 15 minutes, and just kept pressing the ON button 15 times to turn the light back on.
But hey, I really wanted to know. 🙂
I removed the tape, and as you can see, the skin of the banana is clearly discolored, which according to the instructions of the experiment, indicates that the banana was receiving UV-C light.
So in my mind, that means this little germ zapper works. 🙂
We don’t know when a safe and effective vaccine will be available for this virus. And sadly, there is no one thing that will completely protect us against this and other viruses, but any tool that can assist with it is a welcome addition to any germophobe’s arsenal.
This is how I want germs and viruses to look when they see me coming with my Zap Band: 🙂
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