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Gloves No Substitute for Hand Washing

May 7th, 2020
Person with gloves pushing shopping cart

You no doubt see a lot of people wearing gloves these days – at the market, on the bus and at work. It’s part of a collective effort to guard against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. But the reality is one can spread germs with gloves on just as easily as with hands. While vinyl, latex and nitryl gloves may protect the skin from body fluids and certain harmful chemicals, the gloves’ surface picks up germs just like hands. This means gloves can transport the virus to anything they touch. 

What makes bare hands the more hygienic option is that you can easily wash them throughout the day. Soap and warm water is all it takes. Do it often, especially after you’ve touched surfaces that may have been touched by others. And, since a sink isn’t always nearby, carry a hand sanitizer when you’re on the go. 

Gloves Spread Germs

When you first put your gloves on, they are presumably clean. But, they start collecting germs as they touch surfaces. Elevator buttons, grocery carts, gas station pumps, ATM machines, etc. 

The germs gloves pick up will contaminate anything they touch. That includes your mask.

A False Barrier 

Gloves may have very tiny (micro-sized) pin holes not visible to the naked eye. Thousands of germs pass through these holes onto the skin in a short amount of time. 

Gloves can also be damaged by fingernails, jewelry or general wear and tear. Additionally, vinyl, latex and nitryl gloves can be damaged by moisture, heat and chemicals.

Don’t Touch Your Face! 

Sounds easy, but it isn’t. But the truth is if you can discipline yourself to never touch your eyes, nose or mouth you’ll greatly multiply your level of protection from infection. 

Wearing gloves tends to give people a false sense of security. Unless you wash the gloves, or rotate several pairs a day, gloves are likely much more vulnerable to contamination than bare hands.

Best way to protect yourself and others?

Wash your hands frequently, throughout the day. And, keep hands away from your face.

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