Most people are doing their best to find ways to stay safe when they have to leave their homes at this time. The Center for Disease Control has finally started recommending we all wear some sort of face covering, but even before that, a lot of folks were donning gloves to run errands and touch items that had been exposed to the public.

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But former emergency room nurse Molly Lixley warns that just because you’re wearing gloves doesn’t mean you’re keeping yourself safe—there’s a protocol you have to follow, and simply putting on gloves may lull you into a false sense of security and cause you to forget to take certain precautions.

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To demonstrate just what she means, Lixley made a video to show how easily cross-contamination happens.

In the video, Lixley pretends to be a shopper picking up groceries at the store while wearing gloves. She uses paint to represent germs, and as she touches items on the shelf, then her phone, then her face, the paint is transferred to every item she touches. At this rate, so many things are contaminated that by the time she takes her gloves off, she might as well not have worn them at all.

“There’s no point in wearing gloves if you’re not going to wash your hands every time you touch something,” she says. “There’s no point.”

Still, she says she understands why people are trying to protect themselves, she just wants us to be smarter about it.

“Do whatever makes you feel safe, but remember, there is some science here. And all this fear is just manifesting people into being crazy, and to not acting very smart,” she says. 

“So one, go ahead, wear you gloves, but you need to clean your hands all the time. Don’t touch your face. Don’t touch your phone,” she advises. “Secondly, throw your gloves in the trash. They do not belong in the parking lot on the ground.”

Her “little Molly rant” wasn’t intended to condemn, but to educate.

Most of us understand basic things about how infections, like COVID-19, spread, but it certainly isn’t something we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Having to reshape our thinking to be constantly conscientious has proven to be a challenge, and having medical professionals breaking things down both to help us understand and to help us remember best practices to keep ourselves and others safe can only be a good thing.

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“I understand as a nurse I have had extensive training in the use of PPE, but many people in the general public have not,” Lixley told CNN. “They are all so fearful right now they will do anything to protect themselves, but it’s important they do so properly.”

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*First Published: April 6, 2020, 6:36 am