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Addressing The Controversy Of Wearing Gloves In A Pandemic

by

I will start by stating that many people have worn gloves for very various reasons personally and professionally before the start of this pandemic.  If the reasons for wearing gloves in those situations are still valid, there is no reason to change your activity.

box nitrile gloves

Now with respect to Covid-19 safeguards, there is no answer that should apply to everyone here.

Perhaps you have heard of or uttered these phrases; “stop using gloves!!”, or “why aren’t you using gloves!!”  People that know me know I am a firm believer that intelligence stops when you are rigid in your thinking.  I am not interested in engaging in this debate of shaming those who USE or DO NOT use gloves.  The ‘elephant in the room’ is the issue of cross contamination, coupled with fears of having a false sense of security that creates more harm than good. These concerns do have SOME validity to them.  I also suspect many of those critical of those wearing gloves are guilty of (even unintentionally) contaminating surfaces with their bare hands.  On the other hand, your hands are more porous than gloves.  Gloves are a more stable surface for a virus, meaning better conditions for longer shelf life.  What bridges the gap between lulling oneself into a false sense of security and critically thinking is education and awareness.   Each individual needs to make intelligent decisions for themselves independent of the good opinion of others. There are many times I use gloves knowing I am not to nor trying to make an effort to totally curb cross-contamination amongst a variety of surfaces.  But what I am trying to do in these instances is one of 2 things;  prevent certain key areas from being contaminated.  Second, I try to make sure some areas I deem as extremely high risk (gas pumps, high traffic entrances) don’t come into contact with my bare hands.  Knowing we are not perfect, we may forget to wash our hands properly or at all that one time, before touching our faces.  Just in case I did one of these things, I used gloves for an extremely high-risk area and then immediately discarded my gloves.  Sometimes decreasing the probability of putting ourselves at risk is as much of a win as eliminating all risk.  But there is one key to properly wearing gloves that we must understand.  It is not about wearing gloves but removing gloves that is the true key to protect yourself and others.

The proper removal of gloves is comparable to washing or using sanitizer on your bare your hands. When it comes to curbing cross-contamination many people do not think of this critical step, removing gloves safely.  You want to wear gloves to keep substances from your hands. Have the palm up, of the first glove you would like to remove.  Take your other hand and pinch the glove on your other hand about 1 inch from your wrist.

Removing Gloves

Pull forward, removing gloves.

Gloves Removal 1

Now, onto removing the second glove. Take your other hand, put your finger under the glove.

Removing 2nd glove part 1

Removing 2nd glove part 2

Pull glove forward to remove from hand.

Removing 2nd glove part 3

Removing 2nd glove 4

Conclusion

Can I live without gloves?  Yes.  Do I use them frequently?  Absolutely.  I use them for UNIQUE situations.  Part of making gloves a productive versus counterproductive part of your routine is having a thoughtful plan.

Rodney Tatum
Mirror Reflections Auto Spa
Gainesville, Florida
MirrorReflectionsAutoSpa.com
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3 comments on Addressing The Controversy Of Wearing Gloves In A Pandemic

  1. George says:

    Rodney,

    Thanks for your commentary on glove use, particularly the proper way to “doff” (remove) gloves. There are certain products/stages of detailing that definitely call for gloves.

    As a physician, I’d like to point out that the primary way that COVID is spread is through respiratory droplets. Contact is a minimal contributor to COVID spread; therefore gloves offer little protection against transmission. Much cheaper to avoid touching your face and wash your hands. If you cannot wash, then CDC approved hand sanitizer is OK. Gloves are still in short supply and needed for high-risk medical situations, but things are slowly improving.

    Typical masks help limit the spread of COVID by catching droplets emitted from an infected person before they enter the airspace around bystanders. They don’t do much to protect the uninfected wearer; only an N95 or better can do that (also still in short supply.) Wearing typical masks is still an important method of deterring the virus, as most people who are infected are spreading the virus before they realize they are sick.

    Get vaccinated! All of these precautions pale in effectiveness to the vaccines. The vaccines are the only way of ending the pandemic.

  2. Rn Ayotte says:

    I wear gloves whenever I detail… I guess it My use of gloves is ingrained from my days as a Firefighter EMT. I can remember coming across incidents off duty and, having a duty to act, got exposed to bloodborne pathogens.

    There are a lot of nasty chemicals one can get exposed to.. and contact dermatitis is not fun.

  3. Robert says:

    I only use gloves for detailing I was using them at the beginning of the pandemic but CDC says if you trust them that the virus doesn’t live on surfaces just wash your hands and you will be ok but that’s a normal practice

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