- All of us know that face masks are a key tool in an individual’s coronavirus prevention strategy — and not even a voluntary one at that, since they’re now required almost anywhere you go in public.
- Some people, meanwhile, have been taking things a step farther during the coronavirus pandemic and are wearing gloves to protect them from contaminated surfaces in addition to wearing a face mask.
- Health experts explain why wearing gloves to protect you against the coronavirus is a bad idea.
There’s a music-loving YouTuber whose channel I follow, who — in the name of coronavirus prevention — often films himself when he visits his local record store and is hunting through bins searching for a new treasure. He’s masked-up, socially distanced from other patrons, and wearing gloves, which can be seen on his hands in the frame as he rifles through picture sleeves and stacks of vinyl.
That, I get. He’s touching all the merchandise in the store. There are some of you, however, who think gloves are a necessary complement to face mask usage everywhere you go. And that’s a big mistake, according to health experts like Dr. Allison Bartlett.
Bartlett, the associate medical director of the Infection Control Program – Pediatric at the University of Chicago, told The Chicago Tribune recently that “I think that disposable surgical gloves don’t really have a place in coronavirus (prevention). People get the false sense of security that their hands are clean and protected when that’s not the case at all.” One of, if not the biggest problems — experts like her say when people put on the gloves, there’s a kind of letting down of the guard that happens. Some people behave as though wearing the gloves means you can now pretty much touch whatever you want, and it’s fine, because you’re wearing gloves.
That’s the same point made by Dr. Leann Poston, a medical expert for Ikon Health, who told Best Life: “People put on gloves, go shopping, use their cell phones, touch their faces, enter their cars and homes, and then remove their gloves. Their hands were covered, but they cross-contaminated everything they touched. It is easier to forget about cross-contamination when wearing gloves. You are much more aware of what you touch when your hands are bare.”
Having said all that, however, don’t be surprised if there are other (different!) kinds of PPE that start getting recommended as useful complements to wearing face masks when you’re outside your home. White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, for example, was asked about this in a recent interview, and he said he could foresee the possibility of eye coverings of some kind like goggles being added to the official recommendation to wear face masks everywhere you go outside of your home. That’s “if you really want perfect protection of the mucosal surfaces, he said, adding that while eye coverings are “not universally recommended … if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can.” Just don’t wear gloves along with them.