When it comes to COVID-19 protection and limiting the spread of the virus, one main subject tend to dominate social media debates is the use of gloves when out running errands, gathering medical supplies, and grocery shopping.
Gloves certainly do add a layer of protection over your hands by offering up a barrier for unwanted germs from your skin; however, it is very important that if you are one of those individuals that is “pro gloves” when shopping, you keep in mind that there is a right (and wrong) way to wear and use them.
Health experts agree that wearing gloves while shopping could be a good idea, but it’s all in how they are used. The issue is that at times, people get a false sense of security when wearing gloves, and then proceed to “touch everything” while out in public, simply spreading germs around in the long run. Sure, your hands may be protected by the gloves, but the germs still remain on the gloves. What’s on the surface of those gloves can’t (and shouldn’t) go to other locations (especially your face).
Is there a “right way” to use gloves if you are out shopping? Health experts recommend that they be used for single-use instances (i.e. grocery shopping at one store), thus readily reusable and/or disposable gloves are encouraged. It’s especially important to wash your hands before and after wearing them, plus ensure to disinfect everything you have touched after you take off your protective gloves (like your mobile phone, wallet, and car keys – just some examples).
In fact, healthcare experts agree that if you aren’t able to remove gloves and disinfect after every single-store outing, than perhaps wearing gloves isn’t the right measure, as you may only increase the chances around cross-contamination by inadvertently touching other items after going to a store, with all the germs on your gloves are now hitting new locations: your car, door handles at home, mobile devices, and more. While this can happen with bare hands, the regular washing hands and using disinfectant while out and about might be an easier choice for some.
With that said, there is a proper way to use gloves – and remove them – to proactively stop the spread of germs and COVID-19, should you want to go that extra step in protecting yourself while shopping. After you are done at a store, take the following measures to remove your gloves:
- Avoid touching skin, and grab your glove on the outside, near your wrist
- Peel the glove (away from your body), and pull it off, inside out
- Hold said glove with your gloved hand
- Take off the second glove by placing your fingers inside your glove (at the top of your wrist)
- The second glove should be turned inside out while you pull it away from the body, which will then leave the first glove within the second one.
- Throw both gloves away in a trash can. If you cannot guarantee you’ll be near a trash bin at the time of removal, bring a garbage bag and throw the gloves into it, tie it up, and then throw away when you are home
- Sanitize or wash your hands right after you remove your gloves
Finally, it’s also not recommended to clean or sanitize gloves (like one would their hands), as this could damage them, again increasing chances of cross contamination.
Added protective tips that are recommended when shopping:
- Face masks – they may not help you from getting COVID-19, but they do help to prevent spread
- Try not to touch your face or phone while out and about
- If you can, wipe cart handles with sanitizing wipes prior to entering a store
- Social distance while out and about by staying six feet apart from other shoppers
- Try and limit touching surfaces, and sorting through items
- After you done shopping, sanitize your hands while in your vehicle (before heading home)
- Wash hands after you unload your car