The rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout New York State means people are taking extra precautions to stay safe, like practicing social distancing, self-isolation, and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and disposable gloves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend non-healthcare professionals wear disposable gloves to combat the coronavirus. They say the only time you should wear disposable gloves is when you are cleaning your home or caring for someone who is sick.
But non-healthcare workers are still wearing disposable gloves in public, and that can be a problem explains Emil Lesho, DO, Infectious Disease Specialist at Rochester Regional Health.
“Without the proper guidance, gloves can do more harm than good,” said Dr. Lesho. “Unless you have experience removing disposable gloves and discarding them in the garbage, you may contaminate your hands and increase the risk of the spread of germs.”
The coronavirus spreads through droplets in the air. The primary way it enters the respiratory tract is when people inhale droplets that carry the virus. A smaller proportion of cases happen when someone touches a contaminated surface and then touches their face.
Gloves provide a physical barrier between your hands and your shopping cart, your car steering wheel, door handles, and other common touch points. But ultimately, gloves don’t provide full protection against the virus.
If you touch your face with a contaminated gloved hand, it’s possible that the virus can enter your respiratory tract. You can also get infected by failing to properly remove your gloves.
If germs are stuck to the gloves after you’ve gone grocery shopping and you transfer germs to your steering wheel or door handle and then your face, you can get infected.
However, gloves do keep your hands clean. For many people, disposable gloves provide a sense of security. If you don’t touch your face and you practice proper glove removal, and you discard your gloves in the garbage, then there is no harm in wearing gloves.
There are three main types of disposable gloves on the market. Nitrile, latex, and vinyl all offer different benefits like puncture-resistance, protection, flexibility, cost, and materials that are free of allergens. Check out the differences below.
Nitrile gloves are the strongest of the three types of disposable gloves. With superior puncture resistance, they are made of synthetic rubber and are also known as medical-grade gloves. Nitrile gloves are latex free which make them a safe choice for people with latex allergies.
Latex gloves are another popular choice of disposable glove for medical or industrial use. Made of rubber, they are considered more comfortable and provide better dexterity than nitrile gloves, but are not as strong at nitrile.
Vinyl gloves are often used in the food and beverage industry and when protection is not a main priority. Vinyl gloves are a less expensive option, have a looser fit, and are good for low-risk, short-term tasks.
Health officials released a step-by-step guide to properly removing your gloves and discarding them in the garbage.
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