When You Should Actually Wear Gloves
June 7, 2020
Laura Lee

The spread of the coronavirus has everyone paying more attention to hygiene. From wearing face masks to washing their hands regularly, people are taking extra safety precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, not all the steps people are doing to protect themselves, and others are as beneficial as they think. The best example of that would be wearing gloves. Many people wear gloves when going out shopping or running errands. However, as it turns out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t suggest wearing gloves for these everyday activities. Instead, they recommend wearing gloves in only two scenarios.


A woman not following the CDC's recommendation on when to use gloves

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The first activity for which you should wear gloves is cleaning. When cleaning and disinfecting your home to keep the virus away, you must wear gloves. As you probably know by now, the virus can live on surfaces. So, because there is a chance the surfaces in your house, such as your table, floors, etc., are infected, wearing gloves while cleaning them is a crucial step. The second activity is caring for someone who’s ill. If you’re caring for someone who is sick at home, the CDC says you should also use disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting the area around the person and any other surfaces they may have contacted. The CDC stated: “Use disposable gloves when touching or having contact with blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, mucus, vomit, and urine. After using disposable gloves, throw them out in a lined trash can. Do not disinfect or reuse the gloves.” It’s important to note that any time you remove your gloves, you should be washing your hands with soap and water.


Leann Poston, MD, medical expert for Ikon Health, explains the reasoning of the CDC’s objection to the everyday use of gloves, saying it’s because “gloves sometimes give a false sense of security or protection.” Poston further explained: “If you wear gloves in situations that do not have an obvious start and stopping point, you forget that your gloves are contaminated. People put on gloves, go shopping, use their cell phones, touch their faces, enter their cars and homes, and then remove their gloves. Their hands were covered, but they cross-contaminated everything they touched. It is easier to forget about cross-contamination when wearing gloves. You are much more aware of what you touch when your hands are bare.” Another problem Poston brought up is that when taking the gloves off, people often fail to wash their hands, furthering the possibility of spreading the coronavirus.


Woman using glooves the correct way - when cleaning.

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So, how does the CDC recommend that you stay safe in public, if not by wearing gloves? When going about your day to day activities amid the pandemic, the experts at the CDC suggest that instead of wearing gloves, you “practice everyday preventive actions,” like maintaining a social distance of at least six feet, washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, and wearing a cloth face covering. Please remain safe and healthy! Look after yourself.


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