Regular hand-washing does more to protect against COVID-19 than wearing gloves, say health officials
TORONTO -- Regularly washing or sanitizing your bare hands offers more protection against contracting COVID-19 than wearing non-medical gloves, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
In a statement sent to CTVNews.ca, the national health agency warned that non-medical gloves can easily become contaminated if they make contact with objects or surfaces that contain the virus on them. If a person were to touch these objects or surfaces while wearing gloves and then touch their face, for example, they can become infected with COVID-19.
The organization also explained that disposable gloves should not be reused and instead thrown out once taken off.
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CTVNews.ca spoke with several experts who made similar comments on the use of gloves in public as a way of protecting against the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Instead of wearing gloves, PHAC recommends practising good hand hygiene by frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using either an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 per cent alcohol or a non-alcohol based hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada. Other recommendations made by the agency include not touching your face, and practising respiratory etiquette by coughing into a tissue or sleeve instead of out into the open.
For those working in the food service industry, PHAC indicates that “wearing disposable gloves does not negate the need for frequent hand washing.” While some workplaces may require employees to use personal protective equipment (PPE), the health agency continues to advocate for frequent hand washing in all work settings – this means washing your hands before putting gloves on as well as immediately after taking them off. This should be done in addition to adhering to safe food handling practices and requirements.
PHAC suggests that employers post signs in the workplace to remind employees of these preventative measures. The agency also recommends considering increased access to hand washing facilities for employees.