Woman shopping with latex gloves during COVID-19.
Healthy Living

Latex Gloves: Do They Protect Against COVID-19?

May 7 2020

People are taking extra precautions in public these days to protect themselves from COVID-19. One common form of added protection are cloth face coverings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in early April that they recommend everyone wear cloth face coverings when out in public, especially in places where social distancing is hard to maintain. There are now many states, cities and stores that are requiring face coverings to be worn in public at all times.

The other popular item people are using in public to protect themselves are latex gloves. The CDC is currently not recommending that the general public wear latex gloves to protect themselves from COVID-19. Their website states that only patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infections as well as health care professionals caring for COVID-19 patients need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including latex gloves.

So, before you head out to the gas station, grocery store or other public places wearing your latex gloves, it is first important for you to know the facts.

You can still spread germs with latex gloves

The best way to protect against COVID-19 is to practice good hand hygiene. This means washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water on a consistent basis.

Washing your hands is the safer option compared to wearing latex gloves. This is because gloves provide a false sense of security. COVID-19 can live on latex gloves, just like it can your bare hands. Therefore, you are risking infection if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face regardless if you have gloves on or not. Bare hands are a better option because you can wash and sanitize them, which you can’t do with gloves.

Remembering the COVID-19 is an airborne virus is also important. This means that the virus spreads mainly through droplets from an infected person when they talk, sneeze or cough. COVID-19 cannot enter your body from just being on your hands. When it comes to public settings, it is therefore more important to wear a cloth face covering to stay safe as opposed to latex gloves.

Wearing latex gloves properly

If you still decide to wear latex gloves in public, it is important to use them properly. Otherwise, you are still risking infection and enabling the virus to spread.

The CDC states you should wash your hands properly before putting your latex gloves on. The gloves should completely cover your hands and wrists.

When you are done wearing your gloves, use the glove-in-glove technique or the bird beak technique to remove them. Place the gloves in a trash can and immediately wash your hands. When you go out in public again, use new latex gloves. Never wear the same pair of gloves more than once.

Again, we would like to emphasize that washing your hands properly and on a consistent basis is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more using soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.

Stay updated on what Bon Secours is doing related to COVID-19.

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