Why wearing gloves won't protect you from COVID-19

People across the world are taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, gloves and even hazmat suits while they do their weekly shop.  

But one of these precautions isn't as good as it may seem with multiple health professionals saying wearing gloves may not stop you contracting the virus.

Frontline medical staff wear gloves to treat patients but there's a big difference between wearing gloves then discarding them and wearing gloves just to leave your house.

Many people do not wear gloves properly, according to a UK NHS nurse.

The nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, told Metro she had noticed people on the train wearing medical gloves and it was "really gross".

"It's super counterproductive. When we wear gloves in the hospital we literally wear them once for patient interaction or for a procedure and then we throw them away,

"We don't wear one gross sweaty pair all day and touch the patient then our phone then our face and then the door handle," she said.

Once you put on gloves they become your skin - so if you're just behaving as you normally would then germs will accumulate on your hands, ready to be spread throughout your home. 

"Just throw [the gloves] away and wash your hands regularly!" said the nurse.

An Australian virologist pointed out on Twitter that by wearing gloves people are just "adding another surface the virus can cling to".

Additionally, Ian Mackay says people probably aren't disposing of the gloves as medical waste. 

"As with any PPE [personal protective equipment] you choose to wear — be it masks or gloves or Tyvek suits — dispose them carefully into a rubbish bin," wrote Mackay. 

"Don't leave them lying around for others to come into contact with, therefore putting them at risk. Then immediately sanitise your hands."

So while gloves may seem like a good idea they could actually spread the virus faster. It's best to leave the gloves for the nurses and doctors who need them and stick to just washing your hands.