In a post on Facebook, self-employed general practitioner Dr Mark Camilleri has clarified some misconceptions about wearing gloves as a measure against coronavirus.
Dr Camilleri explained that sensible uses of gloves include using them briefly while doing something likely to bring you in contact with the virus as it lies on surfaces. In these cases, it is important to remove them carefully as soon as possible and still wash your hands as an extra level of safety soon afterwards. Also, it was important to make sure not to touch your face in the meantime.
Dr Camileri said, “Skin is a wonderful organ, and one of its many functions is to act as a great barrier to lots of bugs. So if, for example, I was to touch a surface covered with the SARS-COV-2 virus (which caused COVID-19), I wouldn’t get infected. I could only get infected if, two minutes later, or maybe even two hours later, without having washed my hands in the meantime, I touch my mouth, rub my eyes, or scratch my nostrils.”
“These parts of the skin contain ‘mucous membranes’, which are the wet parts – the sort of more vulnerable parts of our skin’s protective cover. It’s like someone throwing eggs at the facade of your house, but then coming up close and throwing one through your letterbox. It’s only via these wet parts that the virus can gain access to our mouth/nose/eyes, which all lead to the back of our throat and therefore our respiratory system (lungs), where coronaviruses take hold.
“So the lovely little local fruit vendor, who sits by her van near my house, wearing (as far as I can tell) the same pair of gloves all day, while she sells groceries, scrolls Facebook on her phone, and deals with customers’ change, might as well have her hands wrapped in salami. In fact, gloves might be worse in her case, because she’s unlikely to use hand sanitiser (or soap, if she had access to running water), whilst wearing gloves.”
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