In the last few days, social media has been flooded with coronavirus-related news, including travel restrictions and community quarantines imposed by the government in the National Capital Region. Just today, as I was browsing through my news feed for updates on the crisis, I stumbled upon a photo of Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone purchasing groceries. He was wearing what appeared to be vinyl gloves, but didn’t have a face mask.
I immediately remembered what medical experts had been saying about the use of face masks for COVID-19 protection—that it isn’t the best defense against viral transmission. In fact, they don’t necessarily recommend the use of masks for those not infected by the virus. Face masks, which are now hard to come by due to demand and hoarding, should be reserved for those afflicted with COVID-19 (or those manifesting its symptoms) and also medical professionals doing their job. Keeping your hands clean through proper handwashing and avoiding touching your face are your best means of infection prevention (apart from social distancing).
At some point during the quarantine period, most of us will have to purchase basic commodities, go to work or leave our homes for some sort of emergency. This will come with risks, obviously. Earlier, I had to step out to pick up necessary items for the family. Instead of wearing a mask, I decided to slip on a pair of vinyl gloves that we normally use for food preparation.
During my drive, I realized how effective these vinyl gloves were as they prevented me from touching my face. They didn’t impede my driving, and they even made me extremely conscious of my hands. Though many of us won’t admit it, we tend to pick our nose, scratch our eyes, touch our mouth or nibble on our fingernails while behind the wheel. These are highly risky habits that introduce viruses and bacteria into our bodies. With these gloves covering our hands, such habits are curbed. In addition, gloves prevent you from eating finger food or handling money with your bare hands.
The nice thing about vinyl gloves is they’re pretty affordable—they retail for anywhere between P150 and P200 per box of 100 pieces—and available in most drugstores, supermarkets and food supply shops. Make sure you get the powder-free type unless you want white smudges on your car’s interior surfaces. For good measure, don’t forget to sanitize your vehicle’s cabin after each trip.
As stated in the packaging, these gloves are meant for one-time use only, so safely dispose of them after. Go ahead and give them a try. You’ve got nothing to lose.
A final thought: Refrain from using the typical driving or racing gloves as they are usually made of porous fabric material that allows viruses and bacteria to penetrate.