A Word About Wearing Gloves and Masks in Public: How To's from PDDH
A Word About Wearing Gloves and Masks in Public: Some Practical Tips from PDDH
One of the many changes Coronavirus has brought to our lives is how we behave when we go out in public, to work or to run essential errands, like grocery shopping. With CDC recommendations, wearing a face covering became the new normal and people may also wear gloves to protect themselves and others.
Many people now wear gloves whenever they go to public places. Unfortunately, gloves may not offer the protection they are seeking. One of the ways that you can become infected with COVID-19 is by touching your face with contaminated hands and that can happen whether or not you wear gloves. Gloved hands become contaminated just as easily as bare hands and wearing gloves can offer a false sense of security, especially when you are touching your personal objects like your cell phone, keys, or credit cards. Good hand hygiene will offer better protection – frequently washing hands for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer and keeping your hands away from your face. However, if you still want to wear gloves, it’s important to remove & dispose of them properly.
When you remove contaminated gloves, you want to do it so that you don’t cross-contaminate. Here’s how: Grasp the outside of the glove at the wrist. Try not to touch your skin. Peel the glove away from your body, pulling it inside out and bunch it up into a ball. Now the germs are safely inside the turn-out glove. Hold that inside-out glove in your hand that still has the glove on. Peel off the second glove by putting your bare fingers inside the glove at the top of the wrist. Turn the second glove inside out while pulling it away from your body, leaving the first glove inside the second glove. The contaminated surfaces of the gloves are now on the inside of the turned-out gloves. The gloves must be disposed of properly – you must not re-use them.
That brings us to an important point – proper disposal of gloves. They must go into the trash. If you took them off properly, you don’t have to worry about the contaminated surfaces. If there’s no trash nearby, put them on the floor of your car or in the corner of your trunk and throw them away when you get home. Consider having some plastic or paper baggies in your car or purse to put the used gloves in until you can throw them into the trash. Be considerate. Do not leave them in the grocery store cart or throw them on the ground. Someone will have to clean them up. The gloves are not biodegradable so if they get blown around or washed into storm drains, it is not good for wildlife or our environment.
The Pomperaug Health District recommends that you wear a face covering/mask in public places and would like to offer a few tips. Try not to use your cellphone while you have the mask on. Avoid touching the mask with your hands until it is time to remove it. When you remove the mask, be careful not to contaminate your face or hands by touching the face portion of the mask. Grasp the mask by the ear loops or ties to carefully remove it without touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Wash your hands afterward.
Since most of us have a very limited supply of masks, we will likely need to re-use them. Cloth masks should be washed frequently; this can be done in a washing machine. For disposable masks, you can hang the used mask is a designated place, away from other objects, until you use it again. Cloth masks can also be stored in this manner. Another way to store used disposable masks, is in a paper bag or breathable container. When you take the mask off, carefully fold it so that the outside of the mask is held inward and against itself to reduce contact with the contaminated outer surface. Place it in the bag until you need it again.
Of course, even with wearing face coverings and gloves, social distancing and excellent hand hygiene remain the most critical ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home except to get medical care. If you are well, stay home except for work and essential errands. When you are in public, stay at least 6 feet from other people. Avoid touching your face and frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.