If you’ve been in public much lately, it’s likely that you have seen at least a few people wearing latex gloves or some other type of hand coverings. They are mostly likely doing this as a way to keep from getting COVID-19. But is wearing gloves really going to keep you from getting sick? Not likely, and here is why.
Gloves – A False Sense of Security
The coronavirus that results in COVID-19 is spread mostly in the air via droplets that spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It is believed that very few, if any, of these droplets spread more than 6 feet from the source. Another way you can get the virus is if these droplets have landed on a surface, another person touches that contaminated surface, and then they touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. However, surface contact is not the main way the virus is spread according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Instead of gloves, the CDC recommends thorough handwashing as the best defense against COVID-19. To properly wash your hands, you need to use soap and warm water and wash for at least 20 seconds. However, when going in public, you may not have access to hand sanitizer or soap and water. This is why many people are choosing to wear gloves.
Unfortunately, the virus adheres itself very well to latex and other types of gloves. So, if you are wearing the gloves and touch a contaminates surface and then touch your face, you have still potentially exposed yourself to the virus. In addition, gloves, particularly when reused multiple times, develop micro-sized pin holes that aren’t visible to the naked eye through which thousands of germs can seep through.
Proper Use of Gloves is Key
Another issue with glove use is that many people don’t know the correct way to take off gloves without contaminating their hands. For example, after you take off your left glove with your right gloved hand, your left hand is virus free. However, if you then use your left hand to take off your right glove, you’ve then likely contaminated your left hand. Instead of touching the outside of the glove, you should reach inside your right glove and peel it inside out without touching the outside.
No Need for Gloves
Here’s something else to consider. If you are going out and about and staying at least 6 feet away from people, there really isn’t a lot of need to wear gloves. The virus can only be absorbed through mucous membranes, which your hands are not. Plus, there is a shortage of gloves right now, and they need to be saved for use by those that need them the most, such as healthcare providers.
If you feel it is necessary to wear gloves, go ahead. But keep in mind that they should only be used once, that they should be taken off of properly, and then immediately disposed of. Refrain from touching your face or multiple surfaces when wearing them and wash your hands immediately after taking them off.