Why you should not wear gloves to grocery stores (Opinion)

Gloves may be causing more harm than good.


Kassidy Trembath

People are being irresponsible by leaving their gloves in the parking lots of stores.

Even though it can feel scary to leave your house to run essential errands during a pandemic, it is important to be informed on how to keep yourself safe. 

In a recent article published by Men’s Health, writer Marty Munson discusses many reasons why people should not wear gloves to the grocery store. To begin, Munson introduces Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., a microbiologist and “director of the environment, exposure science and risk assessment center at the University of Arizona.” 

Reynolds begins by saying “Grocery shopping, if you observe the current novel coronavirus safety recommendations, isn’t as risky as some parts of the internet have made it out to be”, which contradicts what many people believe. 

Reynolds says that wearing gloves “could be causing a lot more harm than good”. 

One of the worst parts of wearing gloves to the store is the concept of cross-contamination. 

“If you touch a contaminated surface with gloves, and touch something else, you’re as likely to spread it as you are if you touch things with your bare hands. Maybe even more likely: ‘The adhesive properties of viruses differ among viruses; it’s possible the coronavirus could adhere to the latex gloves better than it could adhere to your own skin,’ says Reynolds,” as written in Munson’s article. 

Then, many people wonder, how is it sanitary when healthcare workers wear gloves. Well, it’s different for a few reasons.

First off, when healthcare workers wear gloves, they only wear them for short periods of time when they are seeing their patients. This means that healthcare workers are not using the same gloves for multiple patients and they also don’t wear their gloves in the hallways or anywhere else that isn’t directly where their patient is. 

It should also be noted that healthcare workers know how to appropriately remove their gloves (and then throwing them away in the patient’s room) and then know to immediately wash their hands.

Another issue is people aren’t responsibly disposing of their gloves. People will often leave them on the pavement (outside the store, in the parking lot, etc.) leaving their trash in the open where they can continue to spread germs, or even affect wild animals. This harms the environment and can cause negative repercussions in the future. 

Instead of wearing gloves, which contribute to the cross-contamination of everything that the individual has touched with their gloves on and make things worse (despite popular belief), try carrying a little bottle of hand sanitizer with you wherever you go and using that when you feel it is necessary. Maybe wear a mask if you’d like to, and be sure to wash your hands really well when you get home. 

Stay safe Mavericks!