When should you wear gloves?

In general, wearing gloves won’t protect you from getting or spreading COVID. Gloves don’t protect you because COVID is a respiratory virus. Respiratory viruses like the novel coronavirus make you sick when infectious droplets get in your nose or mouth. So you do not need to wear gloves when you go to the grocery store, visit the ATM, or pick up pizza. You can simply wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you finish running errands.

Wait, why do I need to wash my hands?

It’s possible for people to get sick with COVID by getting the virus on your hands and then touching your nose and mouth. But this is uncommon. And can happen whether or not you have on gloves. To reduce this risk, most guidelines recommend washing your hands or using hand sanitizer regularly. And to avoid touching your face before washing your hands.

When are gloves useful?

Perhaps you’re asking yourself why nurses and doctors wear gloves then? Gloves can be useful for infection control, but only in certain situations. The CDC suggests you may want to wear gloves when you’re caring for someone who is sick. Specifically you should wear gloves when cleaning and disinfecting the areas where the sick person or when you come in contact with blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, mucus, vomit, and urine. In these cases, do not reuse your gloves, throw them out in a lined trash can, and be sure to wash your hands after you take off the gloves.

 

Last update: November 10, 202, 3:59 pm ET

Science review: JAB