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Instant Smartarse #4: Glove Grumble

At the height of lockdown, in the queue for a large supermarket, I counted 12 people wearing latex-type gloves, 3 wearing gardening gloves and 2 wearing woolly winter gloves. In the middle of the hottest June on record in Manchester.

Inside the same store we saw a guy with his mask round his chin, with something of a cough, wearing bright blue gloves and checking every. single. mango in a pile of boxes of mangoes.

COVID-19 is spread by airborne droplets that enter the air when an infected person breathes out or coughs. You can be infected by those droplets when they reach the cells in your respiratory system via your nose, mouth and eyes. The virus can reach those cells if you either breathe them in or have the virus on your hands when you touch your face. A mask catches the droplets so they don't reach the air, hence why we have to wear them; it's not so much to protect you as it is to protect other people from you if you are infected.

This is also why we have to wash our hands often; removing any virus on your hands when you inevitably touch your face cuts the risk.

The virus is NOT transmitted through your skin. If it were then the gloves would be an excellent idea. But it isn't, and wearing gloves INCREASES the risk of infection, in three ways.

  1. Gloves are a lot more difficult to keep clean than your skin - even if you wash them you will miss bits, just think about the area near your wrist - you're not going to wash there because the water will get in the glove.

  2. You won't change your gloves as often as you would sanitise or wash your hands. I counted how many times I sanitised my hands in a 3 hour journey today. 18 times. Granted I was on a train and tube so this is probably higher than normal, but all the same, I wouldn't be carrying 18 pairs of gloves around, and I very much doubt that my winter glove wearing friends would even have that many gloves.

  3. The gloves give you a false sense of security that you are somehow stopping the virus, so you could be taking more risks, and judging by mango man, putting others at more risk too.

So please be an anti-glove Smartarse and tell people, preferably kindly, that gloves are a terrible idea and to stock up on hand sanitiser instead! Thanks in advance.

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