Why wearing gloves is unlikely to protect you from the coronavirus

With the number of coronavirus cases rising in Nigeria, many of the country’s citizens are actively seeking ways to protect themselves.

It is now very common to see residents of Lagos, Nigeria’s busiest city and also the city with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, all gloved up like medical personnel.

But the real question is – what exactly do these gloves do and how effective are they in preventing the spread of coronavirus?

The answer is a little disappointing. Coronavirus enters the body through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth (see references below the post).

If an infected person coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets containing coronavirus escape into the air and settle on objects and surfaces. If you are standing close enough to this person, these virus-containing droplets can enter your eyes or nose.

Or, if you touch surfaces or objects where these droplets have settled and then touch your face without washing your hands, you can also transfer the virus.

This is why wearing hand gloves cannot offer the needed protection. Whether gloved or not, your hands can still transfer the virus when you touch your face.

Gloved hands can still pick up the virus and transmit it when you touch your face. And many people wearing gloves may feel a false sense of security that could make them touch their faces more often or forget to wash their hands often.

Nothing beats washing your hands properly with soap and running water or cleansing your hands thoroughly with an original hand sanitizer (not the street knock-offs flying around in local markets these days).

You can carry a pocket-size hand sanitizer around for frequent use.

In conclusion, if you are washing your hands regularly and practising social distancing, you do not need to wear gloves.

The recommended way to wear gloves for protection against coronavirus, according to experts:

a. Wash your hands with soap and running water before putting on the gloves.

b. Be sure the gloves fit in snugly to your hands.

c. Remove gloves and dispose of immediately after touching a surface. You must never touch your face with a gloved hand.

Not sure what social distancing means?

Here is the right way to practise social distancing in Nigeria:

i. Stay at home more

ii. Keep 1.5 metres away from other people in public

iii. Avoid physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses

iv. Avoid public gatherings at all costs

References:

Some of the verifiable sources where the information in this article is gotten from are:

a. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-how-it-spreads-transmission-infection-prevention-protection

b. https://www.france24.com/en/20200317-masks-gloves-don-t-stop-coronavirus-spread-experts

c. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-03-22/working-outside-home-gloves-mask-what-to-know-coronavirus

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