Some of us may think it’s best to wear rubber gloves when we do our necessary shopping. I want to explain why you are no safer wearing gloves when you go out, than if your hands are bare.
First, note that COVID-19 cannot enter your body through your skin. It enters through your nose, eyes and mouth. This means that grocery shopping isn’t as scary as some sites on the internet have made out, provided you follow the guidelines we’ve all heard so often: remain 6 feet apart from others not from your household, and wash your hands frequently.
Second, it doesn’t matter how the corona virus gets to your face; once it’s there, you are at risk. Whether you touch your face with contaminated hands, gloves or objects (i.e. contaminated shirt), there is a chance of you contracting the virus.
If you touch a contaminated surface with either your gloved or bare hand, and then touch something else, you may have just spread the virus. If you touch a contaminated surface with either your gloved or bare hand, and then touch your face, you may have put yourself at risk of infection. There is also some evidence that the coronavirus may actually stick better to the gloves.
Wearing gloves may even increase your risk by giving you a false sense of security. While wearing gloves you may not be as mindful of what you are doing and how you may be contaminating other surfaces.
For example, you wear your gloves to the grocery store and then decide to stop into the pharmacy. It’s only a short ride, or you don’t have many gloves left, so you decide to wear the gloves in the car rather than changing them. If your gloves were contaminated in the grocery store, you may have now contaminated your steering wheel and other areas of your car.
Instead of wearing a fresh pair of gloves at every stop, or risking contamination, it’s much easier to use hand sanitizer on your bare hands as you leave one business and before you enter the next.
If you wear gloves, you must take them off properly to reduce the risk of contaminating yourself. Follow the directions below to safely remove used gloves.
Finally, a few DO’s and DON’Ts to remember:
- DON’T touch environmental surfaces – eg: door handles, a keyboard, a computer mouse – with contaminated gloves
- DON’T touch your face or adjust PPE with contaminated gloves
- DON’T remove one glove, and then pull the other glove off by the fingertips
- DON’T reuse disposable gloves once they have been removed
- DO Be sure that you wash your hands before putting gloves on and after taking gloves off.
- DO change gloves when heavily soiled or if torn
- DO dispose of used gloves appropriately,
Stay strong! You can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Together, we can do this.
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse