Should You Wear Gloves?

Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, we have been seeing a lot of people out in public wearing gloves. This can be good or it can actually be very bad depending on the wearer and their habits,” says public health specialist Noah Akala, MD. “

“Unfortunately, most Kenyans aren’t wearing or disposing of their gloves correctly, which defeats the whole purpose.”

There are many contributing factors that play into why gloves are not always an effective protection measure for ordinary citizens going about their day to day lives. It is possible that there could be a tear or rip in the gloves, more often than not, you could put them on or take them off incorrectly, but most importantly, gloves could give you a false sense of safety – and you end up touching everything you please, including your face, leading to self-contamination and subsequent infection.

The glove itself is only good protection if the person wearing it follows good protective measures, but unfortunately most people will not. This is why it is best to restrict glove usage to trained clinicians.

Instead, Dr. Akala recommends that your best bet is to go outside without gloves and follow these steps:

– Do not touch your phone
– Do not touch your face.
– Practice social distancing while outside. (Stay at least six feet away from others at all times.)
– Limit the items or surfaces that you need to touch. (Now isn’t the time to lean on public chairs and handles)
– Wear your face mask – and do not touch the mask once it’s on your face.
– Wash your hands regularly with simple soap and water.

“Social distancing, not touching your face, sanitizing your hands regularly, followed by washing your hands is a reasonable approach to avoid acquiring the virus from public spaces ,” explains Dr. Akala.

Gloves do not give you immunity nor permission 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 why it’s counterproductive to wear gloves, yet continue to rummage through your purse or text on your phone while outside.

The coronavirus can enter your body through your nose and mouth. It does not enter your body through your hands, but the hands can transport the viral particles to the your face. There’s even the possibility that the virus could adhere to the latex in gloves better than it could stick to your own skin.

Still, for those who cannot give up their gloves, it is important to avoid cross-contamination when wearing them, otherwise they offer you no extra protection or safety.

Dr. Noah Akala, MD
Public Health Specialist.

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