The news surrounding the coronavirus is changing everyday, and recently, to further the protection of ourselves and others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommend that everyone wear a cloth face mask when going out in public. Some people have even started wearing gloves to try to further protect themselves from the virus. However, if proper application and removal of this personal protective equipment (PPE) is not observed, then it could be doing more harm than good. Here is how you should be using personal protective equipment to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus.
First off, the CDC makes it clear that you should not be wearing face masks meant for healthcare workers. Cloth face coverings are meant to be worn when you have to go out in public for any reason, and they are meant to protect others from getting the virus if you are infected.
According to the CDC, “cloth face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; be secured with ties or ear loops; include multiple layers of fabric; allow for breathing without restriction; and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
When removing your face mask, be very careful not to touch your mouth, eyes or nose. Once your face mask is removed, be prepared to wash the mask as soon as possible in a machine washer. Wash your hand immediately after handling the used masks.
You can find tutorials on how to make your own cloth face masks on the CDC website, or you can look at how UF is making face masks out of already existing medical materials.
If you are looking to buy non-medical face masks, Hello Branding can help you!
The CDC has yet to recommend wearing protective gloves when out in public. This could be due to the common miss-use of gloves that may be causing more harm than good.
When wearing gloves, you accumulate germs and bacteria on the gloves just like you would on your hands. While you are out and about, if you touch something in the store with your gloved hands and then go to touch your phone, purse and steering wheel with the gloves still on, then those gloves did nothing to hinder the spread of the virus. Gloves are only effective if you remove them and immediately wash your hands diligently after you touch every different thing. Otherwise, you are cross contaminating different objects.
A former emergency room nurse named Molly Lixey made a Facebook video that went viral explaining how wearing gloves in the grocery store can be causing more harm than good. To watch that video, click here.
If you are going to wear protective gloves, be sure to follow the instruction of healthcare professionals, and continue to wash your hands before and after you use the gloves.
We are all in this together. Wearing personal protective equipment properly is key for keeping yourself and others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue listening to the local government and the CDC for updates on the virus.