Many Kenyans are wearing gloves when out in public. Though it is not wrong, it defeats the purpose when the gloves are worn and disposed of wrongly.
Many factors play into why gloves aren’t always an effective protection measure outside of direct patient care. Torn or ripped gloves, you could put them on or take them off incorrectly, but most importantly, the gloves could give you a false sense of security – and you end up touching everything you please, including your face, leading to self-contamination.
The glove serves its protective purpose when worn right but unfortunately, most of us do not.
Dr. Noah Akala, Public Health Specialist recommends that you go without the glove but strictly follow these precautions:
- Avoid touching your face.
- Avoid touching your phone
- Practice social distancing while in the store. (Stay at least six feet away from others at all times.)
- Touch only items that you need.
- Wear a face mask – and do not touch the mask once it’s on your face.
- Sanitize your hands when you get to your car and immediately wash your hands when you get home after unpacking.
“Social distancing, not touching your face, sanitizing your hands after you’re done shopping, followed by washing your hands is a reasonable approach to avoid acquiring the virus in the store,” explains Dr. Akala
Gloves do not give you immunity nor allow you to touch everything within reach either. Any germs that might be on your gloves can be transferred to all other surfaces and items you touch.
This is the main reason it’s counterproductive to wear gloves, yet continue to go through your purse or text on your phone while in the store.
The coronavirus can enter your body through mucous membranes, like in your nose and mouth. Though the coronavirus does not enter your body through your hands, your hands can transfer the viral particles to the mucus membrane,
There’s even the possibility that the virus could stick to the latex in gloves better than onto your skin.
Still, for those who swear by gloves, it’s vital to avoid cross-contamination when wearing them, otherwise, they offer you no protection.
It’s also critical to follow the Africa CDC recommendation on how to correctly remove them.
“Many people don’t remove their gloves the right way, further contaminating themselves and others around them,” says Dr. Akala. “And you should NEVER, ever reuse gloves.”
In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s a quick recap of how to safely remove your gloves:
- Hold the outside of one glove at the wrist, but be careful not touch your skin.
- Peel the glove away from your body, pulling it inside out.
- Hold the glove you just removed in your other gloved hand.
- Peel off the second glove by putting your fingers inside the glove at the top of your wrist.
- Turn the second glove inside out while pulling it away from your body, leaving the first glove inside the second.
- Throw the gloves into the trash immediately. (Don’t leave them in the store parking lot outside of your vehicle or try to reuse them later.)
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer directly after you’ve removed the gloves.