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Doctor: Face masks more important than gloves for public in fighting COVID-19

Posted at 7:10 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-11 13:00:31-04

People wearing masks and gloves in public has become a common sight during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But wearing them incorrectly could be doing more harm than good.

The CDC recommends using face coverings , such as masks or bandanas over your nose and mouth.

"Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing."

Cloth face coverings should also be washed or sanitized to avoid cross contamination.

Shopper, Lilly Rox wore a mask to the grocery store on Friday.

“Because I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want to get anybody else sick if I am sick,” she said.

Driscoll Health Systems Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lee Budin told KRIS 6 News why wearing masks is a good idea.

"The concern is two-fold," he said. "Number one is we can express the virus out by coughing or sneezing and such, and the mask helps me protect others if I’m wearing the mask."

Masks are also a good reminder not to touch your face.

"It helps us remember not to touch our eyes and nose and mouth which is how we transmit it to ourselves," Budin said.

So what about gloves?

Health officials say gloves aren't always helpful, especially if they aren't used properly.

“The truth is this virus does not get absorbed through your skin. That’s where gloves are useful, is to protect you from getting something on to your skin that can make you ill," he said.

Budin also said gloves can give people a false sense of security.

"The mistake I see people doing is that if they’re wearing gloves they think they’re safe and they’re not worried about what germs are on the gloves themselves, and they actually do behaviors that could give themselves the infection," he said.

Wearing gloves does not replace good hand hygiene.

"If the gloves touch your face and mouth, that's how you're gonna get the illness. If your hands touch your face and mouth, that’s how you’re gonna get the illness." Budin said. "But we can wash our hands. People leave gloves on too long thinking that it causes safety. It does not."

And of course, if you choose to use any protective gear, make sure you are disposing of it properly. Don't throw masks or gloves on the ground.

For information on the use of gloves from the World Health Organization click here.

For information on how to properly remove gloves after using them click here.