Leave your gloves at home when you go grocery shopping, experts advise
04/21/2020 // Cassie B. // Views

If you’re braving trips to the grocery store in person these days, you might be diligent about putting on a face mask and gloves before you head down the aisles. But is this really helping you avoid coronavirus? Experts say no, at least not when it comes to the gloves.

In fact, while the CDC does recommend avoiding close contact, wearing a mask, and washing your hands frequently, they’ve stopped short of recommending glove use for family activities like grocery shopping.

One family medicine physician, Dr. David Cutler, told Healthline that there isn’t any medical benefit to be gained by wearing gloves while grocery shopping.

He said: “With or without gloves, if you touch one thing, then touch something else, you’re potentially transmitting it [the virus] from one place to another. Gloves might even divert attention from the importance of washing your hands."

However, he conceded that they do send a message to others that you are taking the virus seriously.

There could also be psychological benefits, experts say. For example, since you probably never wore gloves for grocery shopping before the virus took hold, seeing and feeling them on your hands could remind you to be more careful about what you touch, encouraging you to touch fewer surfaces and making it easier to remember not to touch your face. It can also help people feel a little more in control of the situation.

Unfortunately, there’s a possibility that coronavirus could stick to the latex found in gloves even better than it can stick to your skin. In addition, germs that are on the gloves can easily transfer to the other surfaces you touch, like your phone or the items in your purse or wallet.


However, it’s worth noting that the CDC does recommend that gloves be used for pumping gas when disinfectant wipes aren’t available, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and handling items touched or used by people who have the virus.

Proper glove removal is essential

Of course, gloves must be removed and discarded properly or they could do more harm than good. The CDC outlines the steps for proper removal of disposable gloves on its website.

They suggest you first grasp the outside of one of your gloves at the wrist, avoiding contact with your bare skin, and peel it away from your body, pulling it inside out in the process. Grab the glove with your other, still-gloved hand.

Then, place your fingers inside the other glove at the top of your wrist, peeling it off while pulling it away from your body. You’ll end up leaving the first glove inside of the second one.

Once you’ve safely removed and disposed of both gloves, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Disposable gloves should never be reused, not even if you wash them. They can break down very easily from cleaning products and even body care products you wear on your hands, like lotion.

What can you do to keep your chances of infection down when you’re at the supermarket?

Social distancing remains an effective means of avoiding infection, so do your best to stay six feet or more away from others while shopping. If something you need is in a crowded area, head to another part of the store and check back after a few minutes.

You should also limit the surfaces and items you have to touch. Grab what you need, and don’t rummage through everything on the shelf. Avoid touching your face, and wear a face mask there if possible. Don’t touch your phone while in the store – bring a paper list if you normally rely on an app and toss it in the trash on your way out. And don’t forget to wash your hands immediately when you get home!

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