While at the grocery store, I witnessed a man with latex gloves on. He was preventing the spread of coronavirus, doing his part! But when I saw him enter his customer ID number on the check-out pad with his covered index finger, the same pad that hundreds of other people touched throughout the day, and then subconsciously wipe his mouth, I knew at that very moment the public was ill informed about how Covid-19 actually spreads.
As one of the owners of Senior Directory, I am blessed to be in daily contact with numerous home care agencies across the country. Ever since the outbreak of this terrible pandemic, I have been increasingly curious how home care is responding to the crisis. While interviewing nearly a dozen home care agencies, an unexpected concern repeatedly arose surrounding the use of protective gloves amongst the American public. According to Athena Sizemore with Griswold Home Care in Nashville, “Glove use can be counterproductive because if you don’t know how to use them properly then it can give you a false sense of security, which I believe is happening for many people right now.”
So, that brings us to the main topic of this article… how do you use gloves properly?
Step One – Wash Your Hands
Prior to putting gloves on, it is imperative that you wash your hands! A twenty seconds wash with disinfectant soap is recommended by most healthcare professionals. How important is washing prior to glove use? Kelly Boland, LSW, with Dunwoody at Home in Philadelphia, adamantly states, “Our protocol is that caregivers are absolutely not allowed to put a pair of gloves on before walking into a patient’s home. Upon entering the home, gloves are not allowed on until the caregiver washes their hands first. Only then can they put their gloves on.”
Step Two – Put Gloves On
This is fairly simple step. After you have washed your hands and let them dry, go ahead and put your gloves on. Besides for using a paper towel or cloth to dry your hands, be sure not to touch anything in between washing and putting on gloves.
Step Three – Do Not Touch Your Mouth, Nose or Eyes
Coronavirus becomes dangerous when it enters your respiratory system. It does so by entering your body though your mouth, nose or eyes. These are the main parts of your body you must be most conscious of! Regardless if you have gloves on or not, if you encounter a contaminated object and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you can likely become infected. So, it is imperative that you are conscious of these entry points. Avoid touching them, at all costs!
Step Four – Take Gloves Off
Proper glove removal is perhaps the most undereducated step surrounding in our six-step process. When removing gloves be sure not to touch the outside of the gloves with your bare hands. Instead, fold up the sleeve of the glove from inside out. Above is a video with a step-by-step tutorial on how to properly remove gloves.
Step Five - Throw Gloves Away Immediately!
After removing the gloves, it is crucial that you throw them away immediately. GLOVES ARE FOR SINGLE USE ONLY! If, in fact, there are infected microbials on the gloves then you do not want them just lying around. What if your dog takes them right off the counter, or your kids knock them over while playing? So, be sure to throw them out immediately after removing them. If you are not home, then we recommend caring a plastic bag from the grocery store to put them in, to be throw away later.
Step Six – Wash Your Hands Again
It is vital that you wash your hands after using protective gloves. To reiterate, wash for 20 seconds with a strong disinfectant soap. If you are not at home, then carry hand sanitizer in your pocket or car, so then at least you can somewhat disinfect before getting home. Remember, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, disinfectant soap is proven to be more effective than hand sanitizer, so if you do sanitize prior to getting home, be sure to immediately wash them at the first opportunity.
Who is Using Protective Gloves During Coronavirus?
Besides from the millions of everyday consumers now using gloves when going to businesses deemed “essential” by the government (i.e. grocery store, bank, pharmacy, etc.), there has also been an upsurge in glove use among employees who never had to use them before. Healthcare workers, cooks, and professional cleaners are accustomed to regularly wearing gloves, and tend to know the rules surrounding glove safety. However, due to Covid-19, millions of other professionals such as delivery drivers, mailmen, gas station attendants, grocery store clerks, etc. are now required by their employer to wear gloves, both for their safety and the health of others. Many of these professionals are untrained in glove safety, as their employers were quickly and unexpectedly forced into this situation, lacking proper training protocols in place.
We hope that this article and video pairing teaches you proper glove safety so that you, your family, and others around you remain safe and healthy during these strange and dire times. Wishing you the best!
Article and Video by Alex Milzer with Senior Directory