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Coronavirus: Separating fact from fiction regarding use of gloves in public

Separating fact and fiction about wearing gloves to protect from coronavirus
Separating fact and fiction about wearing gloves to protect from coronavirus

MIRAMAR, Fla. – There are a lot of questions regarding the use of gloves when out in public, and Local 10 News is here to answer them.

By now, you’ve probably seen those single-use plastic gloves littering your neighborhood or local shopping center. South Florida police departments have been tweeting photos of gloves strewn about on streets and in the grass.

But beyond the environmental impact, some medical professionals are questioning whether gloves are even helpful to stop the spread of COVID-19 if not used properly.

A nurse named Molly Lixey took to social media to warn people about cross-contamination, and her video made headlines around the country.

Here in South Florida, first responders are warning people about the improper use of gloves as well.

In a Florida-based Instagram account called Fire Department Chronicles, a local paramedic shows us what not to do with rubber gloves in a comedic skit. In it, he pets his dog, peels an orange, and scrolls through his phone using the same pair of gloves.

Robert Rhynearson, a retired Miami-Dade fire captain, said if gloves aren’t used in the right way, they could make things worse for people wanting to stop the spread of the virus.

“I think it gives them a false sense of security. So they’ll touch everything in the store. Then they’ll leave. Then they’ll go sit in their car and touch their face and all their stuff in their car and all they’re doing is spreading the contamination,” Rhynearson said.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released an infographic showing how to remove gloves safely so they are effective.

“Gloves protect you against contact with infectious materials. However, once contaminated, gloves can be a means for spreading infectious materials to yourself, other patients or environmental surfaces,” the CDC said in its PPE guidance.

Rhynearson said, when in doubt, wash your hands.

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.