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Coronavirus: For older adults, wearing gloves presents more risks than benefits

Written by Diane Archer

While it is important for everyone to wear a face mask as well as to keep a six foot social distance in public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not believe the general public should wear gloves in most situations.

For older adults and everyone else, the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to wash your hands often. Wearing gloves presents more risks than benefits. In general, gloves are not protective because you cannot get the coronavirus through your skin. You must touch your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands to contract the virus, and you can do that as easily with gloves as with your hands.

If you wear gloves for too much time, you increase your risk of getting the virus and of spreading the virus more. The CDC says that it is also not helpful to wear gloves when using a shopping cart or an ATM. It is better to wash your hands immediately after. Gloves can give people a false sense of security and lead them not to wash their hands as often as they should.

Wearing gloves can lead to cross-contamination if you do not take them off after wearing them in one place and then use them again in another place. And, if you do not know how to take them off properly, you can contaminate yourself in the process of removing them. However, you should wear gloves when you are cleaning surfaces and when you are caring for someone who is sick.

When you disinfect your home, keep windows open so there is fresh air for you to breathe and you are not inhaling toxic chemicals. Remove your gloves as soon as you are done and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Medical professionals should wear gloves to protect themselves when they are potentially exposed to COVID-19 and take them off as soon as they leave a contaminated area.

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1 Comment

  • I have eczema and the constant hand washing is problematic. I wear plastic gloves, when shopping etc., but treat them like my hands, washing and disinfecting them every chance I get. I carry wipes, and peroxide in the car, but also wash the gloves in bathrooms, etc. as well as using hand sanitizers when available in the store. I take them off after shopping.

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