Latex gloves Pose risk of spreading COVID 19

by | May 14, 2020 | Health | 0 comments

The Herald

Lose the gloves, you’ll spread the virus

WEARING latex gloves when serving members of the public only provides imaginary protection against Covid-19 and users can actually be carriers of the virus which can last up to eight hours on the gloves.

Medical experts have said latex gloves should be used by people who have the capacity to put on a fresh pair after every customer they serve. Those who deal with many people while wearing the same gloves, can get the virus from one person and transmit it to everyone who gets service after the infected person.

According to experts, the greatest danger comes from the false feeling of security one has when wearing latex gloves. For example, if a person touches Covid-19 infected surfaces with the gloves, they can infect themselves when they touch their face.

They can also leave the virus on their phone if they reach for it in their pockets and they may give that same phone to their children or spread the contagion to other family members. Experts have said frequently washing hands with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitiser, is better than wearing gloves to protect oneself from the virus.

Till operators at supermarkets may get the virus from customers’ ATM cards onto the gloves and spread it to other customers and themselves.

This follows concerns by members of the public who have unknowingly exposed themselves to coronavirus when being served at grocery till points, toll gates, fuel stations, pharmacies and many company entrances which are normally manned by workers wearing latex gloves.

Mrs Vimbai Mupa from North End suburb said even high-ranking officials are often seen wearing gloves on television and may not be aware that they are ineffective if incorrectly used.

“I have been to several local supermarkets where security guards in gloves will be distributing hand sanitiser and sanitising surfaces, it’s too risky. I have also passed by a toll gate on my way to my rural home, the officer there is busy taking cards from hundreds of us while wearing the same pair of gloves,” said Mrs Mupa.

“We appeal to the Government to ensure that instead of gloves, companies have adequate supplies of sanitisers so that we are also not exposed.”

Dr Khayelihle Dube from United Bulawayo Hospitals said gloves are normally used by health practitioners when handling patients, to protect themselves from infections in human fluids. He said the gloves, which should be disposed immediately aft er single use are also essentials when medical practitioners do physical examinations.

“What I am seeing doesn’t make sense because these people are not discarding the gloves which are providing them with imaginary protection against Covid. They often use a single pair the whole day and are likely to take organisms from anywhere and spread them to members of the public they interact with and themselves,” he said.

According to Miss Nozithelo Ndiweni, an environmental health specialist, people who wear latex gloves tend to think that they are safe and are likely to engage in the most dangerous hygiene practices.

“People should understand that latex gloves are used to prevent any infectious contact with the hands, for example health practitioners use them when handling sick persons. Our hands easily catch infections and they are the main source of most contactable diseases hence the need for these gloves by health practitioners,” says Miss Ndiweni.

“The coronavirus mainly attacks vulnerable mucus membranes found in our eyes and nose hence people who use these gloves may think they are protected when in fact they are spreading the virus when they touch their faces, surfaces, bank cards and everything else.”

She said latex gloves can only be used when one discards them after dealing with a single customer. She encouraged members of the public to immediately sanitize their hands, bank cards and groceries whenever they are served by anyone wearing latex gloves.

“The virus can survive up to eight hours on the gloves and we encourage companies or policy makers to rather ensure the constant washing or sanitising of hands than expose members of the public to the deadly virus,” she added.

Acting Mpilo Central Hospital CEO Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said: “We discourage the wearing gloves by workers serving the public as they can potentially transmit the coronavirus to many people. They should just use alcohol-based sprays and continue practising high levels of hygiene so that we save lives.”


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