With the global COVID-19 pandemic going on in various countries, panic and worry were already brewing among people especially when it comes to ways to protect themselves.
Other than surgical masks that are generally running low in supplies in many places, gloves are also used by the public as an extra precautionary measure to prevent contracting the coronavirus. However, not many people are aware of the correct way to use a pair of gloves, and they assume that bacteria and viruses would repel themselves as long as the gloves are worn.
Seeing how people fail to understand how contamination is absolutely possible with gloves on, a Registered Nurse from Michigan, United States, recorded a video of herself and shared it on Facebook. In the video, she made a simple demonstration of cross-contamination with some green paint that represents bacteria and viruses.
To make her explanation easier for the average person, Molly Lixey provided an example of wearing latex gloves while shopping at the grocery store. Ms Lixey pretended she was at Meijer – an American grocery store – and reached for a bag of toilet paper, contaminating her gloves with the germs on the bag.
“So I go into Meijer, walking around and I got my phone in my pocket or maybe it’s on the cart. I got my wipes and I cleaned off my cart and everything, but I still have my gloves on. Here I’m in Meijer getting my groceries, and I reach for toilet paper. I take my toilet paper and I put it in my cart, and now if you can see, I have all these germs (green paint) on my hands from the toilet paper. But it’s (germs) on my gloves, that’s fine, right?”
Ms Lixey also showed when the phone rings, people tend to forget and reach for the phone with the contaminated gloves on, thus contaminating the phone indirectly from the toilet paper.
“But I’m walking along and my phone rings. I’ve touched my hands a couple of times, and I reach for my phone and I have a text message from my husband telling me to get more chicken. So let me text him back. I put my phone back into my cart and continue reaching for things and I keep touching everything.”
Apart from contaminating the phone with germs, Ms Lixey demonstrated how people touch their faces with gloves on, not knowing germs transferred from the surface of their gloves to their faces. Not forgetting, she also demonstrated how a contaminated phone will definitely transfer the germs onto her face when she picks up a call.
Ms Lixey went on to point out that people would irresponsibly discard their gloves on the ground next to their car at the parking lot, and she pressed that the dirty gloves belong in the trash can. Even though people may think their bare hands are clean after their shopping trip, as they reach for their contaminated phones, the germs would transfer onto their hands, defeating the purpose of wearing gloves.
“This is called cross-contamination. There’s no point wearing gloves if you’re not going to wash your hands every time you touch something. Do whatever that makes you feel safe, but there’s some science here. All this fear is manifesting people into being crazy, and thus not acting very smart.”
She said that it is fine to wear gloves if we want to, but it is extremely important to wash our hands all the time and not touch our faces.
Here is the video of Ms Lixey’s demonstration:
Ms Lixey’s explanation of cross-contamination is incredibly clear, and the actual message she wanted to convey is to wash hands as frequently as possible. There is nothing wrong to want to protect ourselves with gloves, but the protection will only work if we wash our hands frequently and avoid touching our faces.