Many people are wearing masks and gloves to protect themselves and others from coronavirus transmission. But an infectious disease expert has warned that gloves give a false sense of security and offer nothing in the way of safety. According to WHO’s guidelines, regular handwashing is the best way to protect yourself from the virus.
According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s latest guidelines glove use isn’t necessary to prevent covid19 as it may still lead to the spread of germs and will not necessarily protect from getting covid19. CDC guidelines state that reusable gloves should be used while cleaning your home or while dishwashing, for the purpose of protecting your hands and not to protect from coronavirus transmission. They also recommend using gloves while taking care of an ill person.
Allison Bartlett who is an associate director at the Infection Control program at the University of Chicago said that gloves can give the wearer a false sense of security as they are not a substitute for good hygiene. She believes that disposable surgical gloves don’t have a place in covid19 protection and these gloves trick the wearer that their hands are protected and clean but that’s not the case.
A person may contaminate his hand in removing gloves, so if they don’t wash their hands after removing the gloves their hands aren’t clean, assuming they were clean when they put the gloves on. People might feel protected because their skin is not in direct contact with any surface but as soon as they move from touching the surface to touching their face or mask there will be contamination even if they are wearing gloves and as a result, they accomplished nothing in the way of safety.
Gloves are most suited to medical settings where health care workers are familiar with the procedure to use them. If everyone starts using the gloves their supplies will deplete for those who need them the most. There is not the same level of shortage now than when the pandemic began but keeping the supply levels up while the pandemic continues will be a challenge.
According to Bartlett, it’s important to focus on what actually works, as she says its all the health officials can do to redirect people’s want to keep others and themselves safe, their anxiety and their energy to the activities that are known to make a real impact such as staying at home, washing hands, wearing a mask when they are out in public and keeping surfaces, that are frequently touched, clean.
Doctors are required to follow specific procedures to make sure that used gloves do not spread germs to their hands. They are also required to wash their hands before wearing gloves and after removing gloves and they can use only one set of gloves for one patient. They also use gloves when there is a chance to come in contact with bodily fluids or blood of the patients. WHO states that although doctors use gloves while adhering to strict procedures, the gloves do not provide complete protection against coronavirus transmission.
Professor of epidemiology at the University of New South Wales and an infection control expert Mary-Louise Mclaws said that gloves cause people to become relaxed about them washing their hands and they also carry germs more effectively than the skin. She further said that fingernails, hands, and wrists should be washed for 20 seconds regardless of a person wearing gloves or not. According to her the best way to protect yourselves from coronavirus transmission is to stay at home, wear face masks, and wash your hands for 20 seconds.