We now know more about Covid-19 than ever before. We know that coronavirus is mainly spread through tiny droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. We also know that the virus can linger on high touch surfaces for hours. Because of this, many people assume that wearing gloves will protect them. But how true is this?
Doctors and experts: wearing gloves will not protect you from Coronavirus
According to Public Health England:
“PHE is not recommending the use of gloves as a protective measure against COVID-19 for the general public. People concerned about the transmission of infectious diseases should prioritise good personal, respiratory and hand hygiene. The best way to protect yourself and others is: wash your hands with soap and water or use a sanitiser gel, regularly throughout the day. [And] catch your cough or sneeze in a tissue, bin it, and wash your hands.”
Wearing of gloves in public is a very controversial topic. While some people believe that it can help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, health experts like Dr Mary E. Schmidt at the Virginia Commonwealth University believe that gloves can give you a false sense of security.
“People get this idea that they’re protected, and then use gloves to touch themselves or touch their face,” she says.
“As soon as those gloves are contaminated, it’s just like having your [bare] hands.”
If you don’t know how to use gloves properly, you can easily contaminate yourself. For example, when you touch your wallet or phone with your gloved hands, these things are already contaminated. So as fiddling with your mask or touching your face.
So who should wear gloves? And when?
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an outline detailing who should use gloves and when. Here are some key takeaways:
Gloves are needed when:
1. You are cleaning
Reusable or disposable gloves can be used when you are routinely cleaning and disinfecting your home. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after removing your gloves.
2. You are caring for someone who is sick in a non-healthcare setting
When caring for a sick family member or friend at home, you can use gloves when disinfecting the surroundings, especially frequently touched surfaces. You can also use gloves when touching body fluids like urine, saliva, vomit, mucus, and blood.
Dispose of used gloves in the bin. Do not wash or reuse the gloves. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after removing your gloves.
Gloves are NOT needed when:
You do not need to wear gloves when you are outside your home. Gloves will not protect you from Covid-19.
How to properly remove your gloves
There’s a proper technique in removing used gloves to avoid contamination. Here are the steps on how to properly remove your gloves:
- Grab either of your gloves and then turn it inside out as you peel it off.
- Use the covered hand to hold the dirty glove.
- Using your bare hand, reach into the inside of the other glove and slowly peel it inside out. Make sure not to touch the outside of the gloves.
- Dispose of the gloves properly in a lined bin.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. You may use a sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
- Don’t wash and reuse used gloves.
What are the best ways to protect myself from Coronavirus?
The best ways to protect yourself from getting infected and spreading Covid-19 are:
- Staying at home when travelling outside is not essential.
- Wearing a mask that covers both the nose and mouth. You can use washable masks or surgical face masks.
- Washing your hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, you can use hand sanitisers.
- Following social distancing measures.
- Avoiding large gatherings of people.
- Avoiding high risks areas like salons, gyms, airports, etc. as much as possible.
- Avoiding poorly ventilated spaces.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces like light switches, railings, doorknobs, phones, handles, countertops, faucets, and keyboards.