Your Gloves Are Only Making Matters Worse in This Situation, CDC Says

Gloves can help you stay safe from COVID-19, but not when you're doing this, according to the CDC.

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During lockdown, going to the grocery store has probably been the one opportunity we've all had to escape our own four walls. But before we could even step outside, we had to take the appropriate safety measures: wearing a face mask and gloves. Or, at least, that's what we thought. It turns out that gloves actually don't protect you from contracting COVID-19 when you're pushing a shopping cart, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, they may make matters worse. "The best way to protect yourself from germs when running errands and after going out is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol," the CDC says.

The CDC says you should only wear gloves when you're cleaning or taking care of someone who's sick. That's because gloves tend to give us a false sense of security and can lead to cross-contamination. "People put on gloves, go shopping, use their cell phones, touch their faces, enter their cars and homes, and then remove their gloves. Their hands were covered, but they cross-contaminated everything they touched," Leann Poston, MD, medical expert for Ikon Health, previously told Best Life. "It is easier to forget about cross-contamination when wearing gloves. You are much more aware of what you touch when your hands are bare."

The experts at the CDC note that you should use disinfecting wipes to sanitize shopping carts and prevent the spread of germs. It's also smart to bring a portable bottle of hand sanitizer with you to sterilize your hands after touching food and other household items.

a woman goes grocery shopping with a mask
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To avoid the risk altogether, the CDC recommends signing up for a food delivery service (like FreshDirect, Walmart Grocery, Shipt, Peapod, or Amazon Fresh) that allows you to order ingredients online and have them sent right to your door. Additionally, you can check to see if your local supermarket has the option for curbside pickup.

If it's absolutely necessary for you to visit the store in-person, the CDC says that you should aim to go during slower hours, including early in the morning or late at night, when the aisles will be less packed with people. Most major retailers are now offering special hours for seniors and individuals who have medical conditions, too. And for more five-finger rules, check out the 7 Things in Your Home You Should Never Touch Without Gloves.

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