By Jacqueline Laurean Yates
As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, many people are taking additional precautions to stay safe. While handwashing is essential, could other germs be lurking under your rings or watches?
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According to the 2018 study by Georgia State University, "Impact of finger rings on the presence of bacteria on healthcare providers," researchers found that protected areas where rings are commonly worn can allow for hidden bacteria to flourish.
While ABC Medical Unit confirmed that removing your rings may lead to better hand hygiene, there also aren't any clear studies proving that it will protect you from viruses such as COVID-19.
The CDC's formal recommendations for healthcare providers states, "Some studies have shown that skin underneath rings contains more germs than comparable areas of skin on fingers without rings." Additionally, it is also advised, "Further studies are needed to determine if wearing rings results in an increased spread of potentially deadly germs."
In terms of other jewelry surfaces, specifically, pieces made of copper or steel, studies do show that viruses can live for hours to days on them as outlined in a a recent study peformed by the NIH, Princeton, UCLA, and the CDC. However, there isn't any hard evidence proving that simply thoroughly washing your ring is a cure-all against viruses.
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"There are many conflicting studies out there, but generally, almost all of them focus on surgical handwashing for health care providers to prevent surgical infections," says a spokesperson from ABC Medical Unit. "It's difficult to generalize because the focus is heavily on bacteria -- which just naturally colonizes the skin."