A woman at the grocery store wearing latex gloves during COVID-19.
Healthy Living

Latex Gloves: Should You Wear Them for Protection Against COVID-19?

May 7 2020

When venturing out in public these days, you probably notice most individuals are taking extra precautions against COVID-19.

One added layer of protection people are using are cloth face coverings. In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started recommending that everyone wear cloth face coverings in public settings, especially when social distancing is hard to maintain. Some states, cities and stores are even now requiring people to wear cloth face coverings while out and about.

Another item people are using for protection against COVID-19 are latex gloves. As of this moment, the CDC is not recommending that the general public wear latex gloves. In fact, they state that latex gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infections as well as health care professionals caring for COVID-19 patients.

Before you decide to wear latex gloves to the grocery store, gas station or other public places, it is important to first get educated on the facts about them.

Latex gloves can still spread germs

The best option when going out in public is to not wear gloves and practice good hand hygiene. Wearing latex gloves is in no way a substitute for handwashing. In fact, washing your hands for 20 seconds or more on a consistent basis is still the best defense against COVID-19.

Latex gloves can provide a false sense of security. They are not a complete barrier when it comes to germs. Just like your bare hands, the COVID-19 virus can also survive on latex gloves. So regardless if you are wearing gloves or not, if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face, you are still risking infection.

It is also important to remember that COVID-19 is airborne. That means the virus mainly spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, talks or sneezes. COVID-19 germs cannot be absorbed into your body through your hands. Therefore, wearing a cloth face covering in public settings is a much better way to protect yourself against COVID-19.

Wearing latex gloves properly

If you are going to wear gloves while out in public, it is critical to know how to put them on and remove them properly. Otherwise, you are risking contamination.

According to the CDC, you should wash your hands thoroughly before putting on latex gloves. They should cover your hands completely as well as your wrists.

When removing your gloves, use the glove-in-glove technique or the bird beak technique. Throw your gloves away in a trash can immediately and then wash your hands. Do not use a pair of latex gloves more than once.

And again, washing your hands consistently is still the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection. Use soap and water to wash your hands for 20 seconds or more. Use hand sanitizer that consists of at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.

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