Canadian expert says stop wearing gloves to protect against COVID-19
You shouldn't wear gloves to protect yourself against COVID-19; at least that's what one Canadian infectious diseases physician at St. Joseph's Healthcare is advising, and he makes some valid points.
Zain Chagla, who is also an associate professor at McMaster University, compiled his thoughts in a twitter thread on Thursday.
His main message? Stop wearing gloves in public.
As we're talking about using masks in communities, we need public health education and messaging to STOP WEARING GLOVES IN PUBLIC. No one ever said to do this - and the habit is still ongoing. Many reasons below.— Zain Chagla (@zchagla) July 9, 2020
First of all, Chagla says that wearing gloves is pointless when it comes to protecting against COVID-19.
"COVID-19 is much more related to droplets," Chagla wrote. "Outside of hospitals, contaminated surfaces or 'fomites' are rarely a source of transmission."
In other words, you're probably not going to contract COVID-19 from your Amazon parcel.
But Chagla emphasizes that putting fabric garments on your hands isn't merely pointless; it can also be harmful to your health.
"Other microorganisms transmit on gloves," Chagla wrote. "[In] public if you are using your gloves, touching contaminated surfaces, touching yourself, your phone and walking around, you are spreading microorganisms to your surfaces, and to other surface[s]."
And you're not just spreading those microorganisms to other people, Chagla added — you also risk infecting yourself when you take on and off your gloves.
3) You can contaminate your hands when taking off the gloves. So the whole intention to keep your hands clean may go completely backwards if you a) don't take them off appropriately or b) don't wash your hands well immediately after— Zain Chagla (@zchagla) July 9, 2020
But what about healthcare workers and employees that handle food? Surely if they wear gloves to protect themselves from microorganisms, then Canadians should, too.
Well, not quite.
Chagla says that gloves have a "short term" role in some professions, but that wearing them in public to a grocery store, for example, would be a mistake.
Gloves have a role in short term use when dealing with a contaminated surface/person/food and then should be taken off afterwards with hand hygiene. They have no role outside of this - i.e. the trip to the grocery store. Not to mention the downstream environmental consequences— Zain Chagla (@zchagla) July 9, 2020
And even though some Canadian cities are now making face masks mandatory, Chagla says that gloves are a whole other ballgame.
"Way harder to take off gloves properly," he wrote. "As someone who does infection control on wards and hospitals I can tell you. Taking off masks correctly is a whole lot different than taking off gloves correctly."
But what about if you're really, really careful?
Nope, Chagla says. Not even then.
No I stand by my statement. There is NO evidence that outside of the healthcare setting using gloves does anyting to prevent COVID-19. And even in healthcare setting it is only in providing care for the COVID-19 positive patient, rather than in general.— Zain Chagla (@zchagla) July 9, 2020
It looks like Canadians may want to stash their gloves at the back of their closets until December rolls around again.
Join the conversation Load comments