Gloves may do more harm than good when it comes to COVID-19

CDC guidelines say wearing gloves won’t necessarily protect you from getting the coronavirus.

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

By Lauren Leazenby / Chicago Tribune

People want to debate whether wearing a mask works against COVID-19, but the CDC says it’s the gloves you should take off.

The CDC has released guidelines stating that glove use isn’t a necessary preventive tactic when it comes to COVID-19. CDC guidelines say gloves “will not necessarily protect you from getting COVID-19 and may still lead to the spread of germs.”

Gloves can trick the wearer into complacency, said Allison Bartlett, associate medical director of the Infection Control Program Pediatric at the University of Chicago. She said gloves are not a substitute for good hand hygiene.

“I think that disposable surgical gloves don’t really have a place in coronavirus (protection),” Bartlett said. “People get the false sense of security that their hands are clean and protected when that’s not the case at all.”

She said you might accidentally contaminate your hands in removing gloves, so if you don’t wash your hands after you take your gloves off, your hands aren’t clean — assuming your hands were clean when you put the gloves on.

“You might feel protected because your skin is not touching a surface,” Bartlett said, but as soon as you move from touching that surface to touching your mask or face, that’s contamination, even if you are wearing gloves. “And you’ve accomplished nothing in the way of safety,” she said.

According to the CDC guidelines, reusable gloves can be used while dishwashing or deep cleaning your home, but this is more about protecting your hands than transmission prevention, Bartlett said. The CDC also recommends wearing disposable gloves if you’re taking care of someone who is sick and there is an increased risk of coming in contact with their secretions.

Gloves are most needed in medical settings where health care workers know how to use them, Bartlett said. Widespread use of gloves by the general public can deplete the supplies of those who need them most. She said there is not the same level of shortage now as when the pandemic started, but keeping up that supply is more difficult as the pandemic continues.

Bartlett said there’s also an environmental aspect to consider. Gloves are single use. “The only thing that irks me more than seeing people out and about in the grocery store with gloves is on my walk home from the the hospital when I see the new COVID garbage on the ground,” she said.

In preventing the spread of COVID-19, Bartlett said it’s important to focus on what works. “It’s all that we can do to redirect people’s energy, anxiety and wanting to keep themselves and others safe to the activities we know are really impactful — like staying home, wearing a mask when you’re out in public, washing your hands and keeping frequently touched surfaces clean.”

Talk to us

More in Life

Pineapple Shrimp Ceviche. Ceviche includes raw seafood — in this case, shrimp — that is “cooked” with lime juice, so buying good-quality fresh shrimp is a key element of this recipe. Those with health concerns prohibiting them from consuming raw seafood can saute the chopped shrimp in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and then chill in the refrigerator before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. (Lauren J. Mapp/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Pineapple recipes offer a slice of summer sunshine

Here are three tropical dishes that either don’t need to be cooked or don’t require turning on the oven.

USA, Washington, Royal Slope. Glamping at Stillwater Creek vineyard
Northwest’s sauvignon blanc offers summertime refreshment

This white wine is ideal alongside grilled chicken, sushi or poached white fish, lentils and green vegetables.

Queso fundido with chorizo
Queso fundido with chorizo is the Mexican version of fondue

The hot dip made with ooey gooey cheeses is the perfect way to kick off a meal of tacos or enchiladas.

Lamb Cumin Miso Donburi With Onsen Tamago. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Richard Vines
A Japanese rice bowl with lamb and egg from a London chef

The egg is the trickiest part. If you haven’t poached an egg this way before, it’s worth practicing ahead of time.

After the house became too noisy during pandemic mayhem, this working mom moved her office to the driveway. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Her pop-up home office makes pandemic life easier — and quieter

After the house became too noisy, this working mom found silence in the tent trailer on the driveway.

Neuschwanstein, “Mad” King Ludwig’s dream. (Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli, Rick Steves’ Europe)
Rick Steves revisits three enchanted German castles

The nation’s castles date back to medieval times, and today serve as amusement parks and classrooms.

New: Try our online puzzles

These are quick and fun, and you can play on your mobile device or your computer.

Having trouble concentrating? Put down the phone! (Dreamstime)
Making the most of your reading time during the pandemic

By Laurie Hertzel Star Tribune By Laurie Hertzel / Star Tribune (Minneapolis)… Continue reading

Dr. Paul on telemedicine and the changing face of health care

Hundreds of patients are seeing their doctors through video visits because of the pandemic. There will be no going back.

Most Read