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Why You Still Spread Coronavirus Wearing Protective Gloves

April 9, 2020

If you’re wearing protective gloves each time you shop in an attempt to decrease your risk of contracting coronavirus, it’s a good first step. But unless you’re taking many of the same precautions recommended when you’re not wearing gloves, you’re probably defeating the purpose. It takes some mindfulness and some good common sense to ensure you’re giving yourself the best protection.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), medical gloves are examples of personal protective equipment. They’re used to protect the wearer and/or the patient from the spread of infection or illness during medical procedures and examinations. Protective gloves are disposable and come in different sizes. 

But wearing protective gloves won’t guarantee your protection against coronavirus or other germs and bacteria if you’re not careful. So, let’s take a look at how you can still spread the coronavirus even if you’re wearing protective gloves.

Why Wear Protective Gloves, Or Even Winter Gloves?

Protective gloves, in essence, can be considered an extra layer of skin. But it’s a layer you can remove. Gloves can be cross-contaminated, just like your hands.

Wearing gloves won't give you an added layer of protection against the risk of coming into contact with germs. Most experts say a pair of gloves won't lower your risk of contracting COVID-19 mostly because wearing gloves provides a false sense of security that bare hands do not.

If you're wearing gloves while shopping but happen to itch your nose or rub your eyes, it defeats the purpose of wearing gloves.

Doctors say you shouldn’t wear protective gloves unless they remind you not to touch your face. 

The same rule applies to your winter gloves. One study found that after using a swab on winter gloves - ranging from wool to leather to nylon - they were tested for bacteria and viruses.

Out of the 27 samples tested, 26 were positive for bacteria. 

How Viruses Spread on Gloves

A nurse in Michigan demonstrated just how easily germs can spread at places like the grocery store, even when you’re taking the precaution of wearing protective gloves.protective gloves

Molly Lixey posted a 3-minute video on Facebook. She uses green paint to demonstrates how quickly protective gloves go from clean to contaminated.  It puts into perspective that even if you’re wearing gloves to run necessary errands, you’re likely not being cautious enough about where those germs can end up.

The video drives home the point that wearing gloves to the supermarket isn't necessary if you do not touch your face, remember social distancing best practices while in the store. When you leave the store, you should take off your gloves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use an illustrated guide to teach you how to properly remove your protective gloves, but here are the steps they recommend:

  • Pinch the outside of your first glove at the wrist, being sure not to touch your bare skin.
  • Peel the glove away from your hand, pulling it inside out as you do so. Be careful not to rip it in the process.
  • Hold the now-removed glove in your other gloved hand. Do not hold it with your free hand.
  • Peel off the other glove by inserting your fingers inside the glove under your wristband, taking care not to touch the exterior of your glove.
  • Turn the glove inside out while pulling it away from your body, leaving the first glove within the second one. Then immediately dispose of these gloves in the trash.

Once your gloves are off, you’re advised to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol before getting into your car.

And when you get home, be sure to wash your hands as soon as you get in the door. Then, put your items away, and once you’re done, wash your hands again. It’s not necessary to do anything special to disinfect or clean your items, experts say. If you got produce, you can clean it with water as you normally would.

What You Should Know About Using Protective Gloves

If you feel more comfortable wearing gloves to the store, the Food and Drug Administration provides a list of tips you should know before using protective gloves. They include:

  • Washing your hands before putting on sterile gloves.
  • Making sure your gloves fit properly.
  • Always change your gloves if they rip or tear.
  • Some people are allergic to natural rubber latex used in some medical gloves. 
  • After removing gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Never reuse medical gloves.
  • Never wash or disinfect medical gloves.

Following these simple guidelines will ensure your gloves are providing you maximum protection. 

In the end, it’s about being mindful of where you are putting your hands. If you’d like more information on how to keep germs at bay, check out our free guide “How To Get Rid Of The Flu.” 

Inside you’ll find a list of the most effective ways to stay healthy all year long.