Should you be wearing gloves in public to protect yourself against COVID-19? Although wearing gloves sounds like a great idea to protect yourself from COVID-19, is wearing gloves actually going to protect you from the virus? It all depends on the circumstances, and here are the reasons why.
COVID-19 Is Airborne
COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. That often happens when people are within 6 feet of one another. You can also get COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces. It helps to imagine that COVID-19 contaminated surfaces are covered with glitter and that every surface you touch is covered with sparkly glitter. Those who have dealt with glitter before will know how fast it spreads from one surface to another.
So when you touch any surface that is contaminated with COVID-19 and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, you’ve possibly already exposed yourself to COVID-19. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that this isn’t the main way that COVID-19 is spread.
Cross-Contamination Is More Likely When You’re Wearing Gloves
It’s important to remember that surface you touch with your gloved hands is technically contaminated. This kind of cross-contamination usually happens when you’re putting on and taking off your gloves.
So before putting on a new pair of gloves, it’s necessary to wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer, and make sure that your gloves aren’t ripped or discolored, and pull them up high enough so they cover your wrists.
Make sure to throw out your gloves after use, and wash your bare hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol content.
It’s also essential to remind individuals to avoid reusing gloves. A lot of people would go home and put it aside for further use, or try to wash their gloves for reuse. That is a highly discouraged practice.
Are Gloves Giving Us a False Sense of Security?
Washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content remains the best defense against COVID-19. But when you go to the grocery or other public places, you may not have access to those, that’s why some people are opting to wear gloves.
However, wearing gloves can give you a false sense of security.
If you wear gloves to the grocery store, you’d think you’re safe. So you feel like you can touch all the cans, bottles, and counters. But now, your gloves contain all of the bacteria that were on all those surfaces, maybe even COVID-19.
However, you still feel like you’re protected because you’re using gloves. As you keep shopping, your phone may ring, so you reach into your bag or pocket to get your phone, or maybe even reach for your wallet to pay at the counter. So now, all those bacteria on your gloves have spread to your phone and wallet. You didn’t think twice about touching things at the grocery store because you believed you were safe from COVID-19 with the gloves on your hands. But you’ve actually spread germs to your phone, wallet, and clothing. And when you get home, you put your phone on the table along with your wallet and keys, and now they’ve spread to your household items.
Often times you feel complacent because you feel like you’re safe because you were wearing your face mask and your latex gloves. And when you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, you might say:
“But I was being safe! I was wearing gloves and my face mask! How in the world could I still be infected?”
You may have been infected with COVID-19 through cross-contamination with your gloves. In order to make sure that it isn’t COVID-19, you should go get tested with a COVID-19 rapid test or a PCR test near you.
“I don’t know any place where I can get tested. Where do I go to get a COVID-19 rapid test or a PCR test near me?”
We recommend using Google’s powerful local search tool to help you. You can also go here to find a COVID-19 rapid test or a PCR test near you. It’s also recommended that you contact your local health authorities to find COVID-19 testing locations near you.
It’s important to note that although we feel safer with tight gloves on, it might be better to just bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer than to wear gloves when going out.
Proper Use of Gloves is Key to Protect Yourself
Many people don’t know the proper way to put on and take off gloves. When taking off gloves, you can contaminate your hands when you take them off improperly.
Most people take off their left glove with their right gloved hand, so their left hand is virus-free. But if you take off your right glove by touching the outside of the glove, you’ve potentially just contaminated your left hand without knowing it.
You need to reach inside your right glove and peel it inside out without touching the outside in order to avoid contaminating your virus-free hand.
If you’re going for a walk and practicing proper social distancing and staying at least 6 feet away from other people, there’s no need to wear gloves.
If wearing gloves help calm your nerves and give you peace of mind when you’re in highly congested public places with high foot traffic like malls, grocery stores, and public transportation, then it might be okay.
Although it’s very important to remember that you can only use them ONCE. Take them off properly after using them and immediately throw the used gloves away.
Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after taking them off, and avoid touching your face if you haven’t washed your hands yet.