Most people are trying to avoid getting COVID-19, but wearing gloves in public may not be the answer. In most situations, like running errands, it is not necessary for the general public to wear gloves says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is recommended to wear gloves when you are cleaning or caring for someone who is sick.
COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, which come from an infected person when they cough, sneeze, exhale, or talk. If the droplets land on (or are inhaled by) a nearby person, it is possible the virus could spread to that person if the droplets land on the mouth, nose, or eyes. There also is a possibility for spreading the infection through touching objects an infected person has been in contact with (or releases respiratory droplets onto), which is where gloves could potentially help. However, experts say gloves can give folks a false sense of protection and may still lead to the spread of germs. You may still get COVID-19 while wearing gloves if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with the gloves, touch any of your belongings with the gloves on, do not take them off properly, and/or immediately wash your hands after taking the gloves off. The best way to protect yourself from the virus through contact is simply by washing your hands regularly or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Other ways to avoid getting COVID-19 are by only going out when it is necessary and keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from those who are not members of your household. A face mask is not a substitute for social distancing, but does help protect others from getting sick if you have the coronavirus and don’t know it. Wearing a mask also could help prevent you from touching your nose and mouth, which could get you sick if your hands are not clean. Most people don’t realize how often they touch their nose or mouth during the day. Try thinking about it for a whole day and see how often you catch yourself!
If you are the caregiver for someone who is sick, the CDC does recommend using disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting the area around the sick person or other high-traffic surfaces or areas in the home. When encountering blood, stool or any bodily fluids, it also is appropriate to wear disposable gloves. Do not reuse or disinfect disposable gloves. They should be thrown away in a lined trash can, and you should wash your hands right away after removing the gloves. Be sure not to touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or face before washing your hands.