Latex gloves are NOT sterile and could spread coronavirus, expert warns – The Sun

AS the threat from coronavirus continues, people are doing everything they can to protect themselves.

But an expert has warned not to use latex gloves as they aren't sterile and could even spread the virus.

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Prof Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at the University of Reading, said that disposable gloves may be more dangerous than simply washing your hands.

Writing in The Conversation, he said: "For a better idea of how to use gloves properly and, indeed, what their limitations are, it’s helpful to look at an environment where they are used routinely, namely hospitals.


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"It’s important to remember that most gloves that come in large packs are not sterile and are associated with a risk of cross-contamination and spread of disease.

"This is because they are often used when they aren’t really needed, put on too early, taken off too late or not changed at the appropriate times."

Medical setting

He added that gloves should only ever be worn to protect healthcare workers from blood, bodily fluids or certain drugs.

"Hand washing is unlikely to be of any use if a healthcare worker is exposed to a toxic chemotherapy drug or blood-borne virus," he added.

"When the patient needs protection, such as during surgery, gloves should be sterile.

"Either way, they need to be removed when they become contaminated and the same pair of gloves should never be used to touch more than one patient."

But outside of a medical setting, Prof Clarke warns that people may continue to wear gloves for hours – and after they've become contaminated.

He said: "When you see someone wearing gloves in a food preparation or retail environment, it’s worth remembering that they may have had them on for hours and might have handled contaminated material with them.

Failing to change gloves when needed is no different from failing to wash your hands

"For example, did the person who’s just cooked your burger handle the raw meat with gloves on, only to then give you the cooked product while wearing the same pair of gloves?"

"Similarly, if someone has touched a contaminated surface with a gloved hand, they are just as likely to transmit contamination as someone who hasn’t worn gloves.

"Failing to change gloves when needed is no different from failing to wash your hands."

Less aware

He also warned that wearing gloves can make someone less aware that they have contaminated their hands when they might otherwise have noticed and simply wash them.

"If you handle something contaminated with coronavirus and then touch your face, the gloves won’t stop you from getting infected," he said.

"Wearing gloves is a convenient way to minimise contamination and keep our hands clean, but they are only really useful when handwashing is either not possible or insufficient to prevent chemical or biological contamination.

"And if they are worn, will need to be changed as often as hands need to be washed.

"It’s also worth remembering that while soap or hand sanitiser can cause unpleasant soreness, latex gloves can cause allergic reactions and irritation."

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If you do decide to use gloves, then you must make sure you know how to properly put them on and take them off so you don’t contaminate yourself and other surfaces.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that you should grasp the outside of one glove at the wrist, while being conscious not to touch your bare skin.

You should then peel the glove away from your body, pulling it inside out – and once it's removed you should hold it in your gloved hand.

Then to peel off the second glove, you need to put your fingers inside the glove at the top of your wrist and turn the second glove inside out while pulling it away from your body – leaving the first glove inside the second.

The CDC urge people to only use their gloves once and dispose of dirty gloves safely by putting them in the rubbish bin and immediately washing your hands afterwards with soap for at least 20 seconds.

It comes after a video of a nurse showing how easily coronavirus can spread even if you're wearing gloves went viral.

Molly Lixey, who lives in Michigan, demonstrated how gloves do not provide protection if you do not sanitise the belongings you regularly use – for example your phone – and if you do not wash your hands.

"There's no point in wearing gloves if you're not going to wash your hands every time you touch something," Lixey emphasised.

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