Gloves and Covid-19

Probably the biggest mistake people make with gloves is not changing or discarding them. If you touch an infected surface, the glove is now contaminated.  The next thing you touch — whether it be a piece of fruit in the grocery store, utensil, door handle or body part — is now contaminated.

Thus, if you wear the same pair of gloves from place to place, you are potentially spreading contamination. In this manner, a contaminated glove is not preferable to a contaminated hand.

The solution to this problem is either to repeatedly change gloves whenever a potentially contaminated surface is touched, or to somehow clean the contaminated glove.

Of course, it’s not clear why trying to clean contaminated gloves is preferable to just washing your hands. Since the general public will not have an endless or even significant supply of clean gloves, it makes more sense to only wear them when touching known or suspicious contaminated surfaces, and then discarding them.

Best advice: avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces at all, wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, and leave wearing gloves (to the medical professionals who need them) for high-risk situations.

Benjamin H. Ticho, MD