While people donning face masks out in public is already an established norm in many places around the world thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of latex medical gloves seems to be in a more nascent stage of popularity. But medical gloves are, apparently, catching on with the general population, which is why it’s more important than ever to make sure everyone is wearing them properly. To that end, here are five key pieces of advice from experts, which will help you to ensure you’re using your medical gloves properly when out and about. And touching everything at your local Trader Joe’s.
1. Check Your Gloves Before Putting Them On
As noted in the below video from medical e-learning organization Pro Trainings, the first thing you’ll want to do before putting on your medical gloves is check them for holes. You can do this by squeezing the open end of the glove and pushing upward while looking out for any signs of air escaping.
2. Clean Your Hands Before and After Wearing Your Gloves
You must wash your hands before you put on your gloves, because if you don’t, you may be getting germs all over them. Likewise, you must wash your hands after you take your gloves off, because there is no guarantee they don’t have germs on them.
An excerpt from a CDC guide for PPE use noting the importance of performing hand hygiene prior to donning gloves. CDC
3. Don’t Touch Surfaces with Gloved Hands You’ll Touch with Bare Hands
Any surfaces you touch while wearing your gloves should subsequently not be touched by your bare hands. This is due to cross contamination, whereby we inadvertently transfer germs from one surface to another. A Michigan nurse explains the phenomenon in this viral twitter video:
4. Don’t Touch Your Face While Wearing Your Gloves
This is a natural offshoot of tip number three, but is highlighted specifically to remind you to never, ever touch your face. As Ice Age ecologist and handler of lethal chemicals, Dr. Jacquelyn Gill, notes in the twitter thread below, medical gloves are not anti-microbial, and therefore are still dangerous if you touch your face while using them.
Gloves will not prevent you from transferring germs from a contaminated surface to an I contaminated one! They aren’t anti-microbial. If you touch a doorknob with gloves on, then touch your face WITH THOSE SAME GLOVES, you’ve transmitted germs from the doorknob to your face.— Dr. Jacquelyn Gill (@JacquelynGill) April 5, 2020
5. Remove Your Gloves Properly and Throw Them Away In a Receptacle
Finally, after you wear a pair of medical gloves, you must throw them away. In the trash. It seems that many people have simply been tossing their used gloves on the ground (e.g. in parking lots), which can further help to spread COVID-19 infections and is, of course, just plain rude. Below is a video from former paramedic and Wilderness Medicine Instructor, Adventure Otaku, showing how to properly take off your gloves.
What do you think about these tips for properly using medical gloves? Do you swear by using gloves when you’re out in public, or do you just prefer extremely frequent hand-washing? Let’s talk hand hygiene in the comments, people!