When Gregory Poland, M.D., went to medical school, he probably didn’t think it would be a path to the late-night talk show circuit. But last week Dr. Poland, an infectious disease expert at Mayo Clinic, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to teach Jimmy and “show correspondent” Guillermo how to wash their hands. The segment came about, we’re told by a friend of In the Loop, because Jimmy “wanted to learn proper hand-washing technique to better protect himself from colds and flu.” (Talk show hosts shake a lot of hands.) An online search for information led the Kimmel team to MayoClinic.org, and a show staffer “called Mayo to find an expert” to appear on the show.
In the surprisingly thorough 6-minute segment, Dr. Poland uses glow lotion and a black light — props provided by Mayo’s Infection Prevention and Control Unit — to demonstrate how much bacteria remains on skin even after the standard hand-washing. (Thanks for that.) After revealing that “almost nobody knows” the right way to wash their hands, and most of us spend 5 to 7 seconds, Dr. Poland schools Jimmy, Guillermo — and the 2.4 million folks watching at home — on the proper technique. It's as easy as W.L.S.R.D. (We’d explain, but it would be more fun to watch and learn for yourself.) Dr. Poland also affirmed the good habits of germaphobes everywhere when he ended the segment by telling Jimmy and Guillermo to use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the bathroom door. (Ahem, a clean one, Cory.)
Dr. Poland says filming the segment “was a lot of fun.” But he wasn’t there just for laughs. His hope, he says, is that the information he shared will help teach people “how to stay healthy by washing their hands properly.” Doing so, he tells us, can “prevent about two colds every year, and about one or two episodes of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea kinds of illness." (We’re definitely not laughing now.)
It’s not the first time Jimmy Kimmel Live! has devoted time to a public health issue. The show has taken on hand-washing once before and also addressed the anti-vaccine movement. We’re guessing Dr. Poland – who helped coin the term vaccinomics — could have contributed to that segment as well.
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