Wearing gloves may not protect people from Covid-19 because they give a false sense of security, an expert has warned.
Dr. Allison Bartlett, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago, said they offer “nothing in the field of safety.”
The heads of the World Health Organization say that regular hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of the virus.
But many people who are afraid of the virus use gloves in the same way as masks, which studies have shown can reduce the risk of transmission.
This is pointless, according to Dr. Bartlett, because the virus can survive on gloves if they hit contaminated surfaces.
She added that wearing gloves can give people a “false sense of security,” protecting their hands when “that’s not the case at all.”
Wearing gloves offers ‘nothing in the field of safety’ and can be dangerous because they give wearers a false sense of safety, a scientist has warned
Speaking about the effectiveness of wearing gloves, she said, “You may feel protected because your skin doesn’t touch a surface.
“But once you go from touching that surface to touching your mask or face, it’s contamination, even if you’re wearing gloves.”
In a warning to people who relied on gloves to protect them from Covid-19, Dr. Bartlett added: “You haven’t achieved anything in the field of security.”
People can become infected with the coronavirus if they have the virus on their hands and touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
How long can Covid-19 survive on surfaces?
In the air: Infectious disease researchers have found that COVID-19 remains contagious in contaminated airborne droplets for at least three hours, but they have not determined whether people produce enough of the disease in a single cough or sneeze to infect another person.
On soft, porous surfaces: COVID-19 can survive up to 24 hours on porous surfaces such as cardboard, paper, clothing and upholstery such as pillows and duvets. Porous surfaces allow air and water to pass through, making it far less likely to retain infectious volumes of the virus compared to non-porous objects such as door handles, faucets and phone cases.
On hard, shiny surfaces: COVID-19 has been proven to remain active on hard surfaces such as glass, plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours. Hard, glossy materials are non-porous, meaning water, air and vapor cannot pass through and instead rest and accumulate on the surface.
Researchers from the World Economic Forum have confirmed that the virus degrades over time, reducing the chance of infection the longer contaminated droplets are on a surface, but still avoid touching the handles, buttons and other objects in public places. If this is unavoidable, do not touch your face until you have thoroughly washed your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Frequently touched household surfaces such as faucets, door handles, computer keyboards and toilets should be cleaned with bleach or alcohol solutions containing at least 70 percent alcohol.
On her: There is no evidence that coronavirus can be worn in beard strands or facial hair.
Dr. Bartlett said it is easy to infect hands while removing gloves, because once one glove is removed, the other free hand can easily touch the other glove while it is being pulled out.
And she added that widespread use of gloves by the general public could run out of stock for doctors.
Doctors must follow specific procedures to ensure that used gloves do not contaminate their hands. They also wash their hands before and after wearing gloves, using only one set of gloves per patient.
They use gloves when they can come into contact with blood and other body fluids from patients.
The World Health Organization also states that while doctors follow strict procedures to use gloves correctly, they “do not fully protect against hand contamination.”
The organization’s website adds: “Pathogens can access caregivers’ hands from minor defects in gloves or from contamination of hands during glove removal.
“Hand hygiene by rubbing or washing remains the basis for ensuring hand disinfection after removal of the gloves.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US and the European CDC have released guidelines stating that gloves “ don’t necessarily protect you from getting Covid-19 and may still lead to the spread of germs. ”
While the CDC states that reusable gloves can be used during cleaning, this is to protect hands rather than prevent transfer.
Dr. Bartlett added that because gloves are disposable, an environmental aspect should also be considered.
She said, “The only thing that irritates me more than seeing people wearing gloves in the supermarket is when I walk home from the hospital when I see new Covid waste on the ground.”
She added that to stop the spread of the coronavirus, it is more useful to do things “that we know really have an impact,” such as staying at home.
Dr. Bartlett also argued that wearing a mask in public can help, as well as washing hands and frequently touched surfaces regularly.
In April, a researcher who advised WHO on the outbreak of infectious diseases warned against wearing gloves in the supermarket.
Mary-Louise McLaws, an infection control expert and professor of epidemiology at the University of New South Wales, said gloves carry germs better than the skin and help people relax more when washing their hands.
Professor McLaws told Daily Mail Australia that hands, wrists and fingernails need to be washed for another 20 seconds before wearing gloves and after taking them off, so it’s ‘best not to rely on them at all for protection.’
She said that primary care workers are the only people who should wear gloves, and reiterated official guidelines that using hand hygiene stations in public places, practicing social distance, and staying at home is the best defense against coronavirus.
While it wouldn’t hurt to disinfect baskets and trolleys, Professor McLaws said there is “very little risk” of contracting SARS-CoV-2 from supermarket surfaces.
Covid-19 has been shown to survive up to three days on glass, plastic and stainless steel.