Jacky Chan, Jan 01, 2021
If you’re getting tired of the constant handwashing (and maybe even dealing with dry skin from all that soap and hot water) to protect yourself from the coronavirus, you may wonder if you could get the same protection by wearing disposable gloves. After checking the CDC guidelines and consulting two infectious-disease experts, we can confidently tell you: Don’t worry about it. The CDC does not currently recommend gloves for running errands or going to the grocery store. (Right now, it’s recommended to wear them only while caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19 or while using cleaning products.) And the experts we spoke to warned that gloves can have the unfortunate side effect of providing a false sense of security.
“People think of disposable gloves as magic bullets, and they are not. They are another source of contamination,” says Ravina Kullar, an infectious-disease specialist, epidemiologist, and spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “You are in essence just transporting all the bacteria and viruses you have touched from one surface to another [via your gloves] and may potentially be prone to touch your face more often.” Without gloves, she says, you’re likely going to be more aware of washing your hands or using hand sanitizer after touching a potentially contaminated surface. Aaron E. Glatt, chair of medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau and also an IDSA spokesperson, agrees that in most cases, “you’re actually better off washing your hands,” as people wearing gloves will often touch many different surfaces, including their faces, before switching out their gloves.