Safety Wear Etiquette

Discarded gloves on the ground

Since the beginning of the Coronapocalypse, there’s been a tremendous increase in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) both by healthcare providers and members of the general public. And if Asia’s statistics are true, there’s definitely something to it. As with all tools, there are right ways and wrong ways to use PPE. That brings us to today’s focus: safety wear etiquette. 

Mask Etiquette

In theory, wearing a mask is a great way to reduce the spread of infection. It prevents droplet spread, provided the mask is properly graded to stop viral agents, from sneezing and coughing. Masks are most effective on those with a suspected infection; however, as we don’t know who is infected, masks can serve as a general preventative measure. 

Masks can also create a false sense of security. Those wearing masks sometimes forget that the mask itself can be a vector of disease. Touching the mask with dirty hands is no different than touching an exposed face. Further, used masks should be disposed of in such a way as to avoid contamination to other surfaces or objects. Immediately wash your hands after disposing of a mask. 

If you’re like me and wear glasses, masks can be a major pain. The best ways to avoid “updraft” of air in masks include the following tips (taken from surgeons): 

One last tip: avoid makeshift masks. Most uncertified masks do not screen or block viral particles and do little more than make breathing more difficult. 

Glove Etiquette 

Gloves work very differently than masks. Aside of them going on your hands rather than your face, their purpose is entirely different. As a healthcare provider, I see most others use gloves improperly. 

Gloves are meant to be worn to protect your hands and to avoid cross contamination. They do not protect you from infection. Wearing the same pair of gloves all day is significantly worse than wearing nothing at all. 

If you must wear gloves, they should be disposed of every time you touch something potentially contaminated before you touch something you believe not to be contaminated. Otherwise you risk spreading any germs that were on the gloves. Already you should be imagining in your head just how many gloves you would need to go through for this to be feasible! 

Removing gloves properly is also important. You should remove gloves without touching your skin, by gripping the center of the glove and pulling it off using one gloved hand. Then, using the non-gloved hand, reach underneath the gloved hand and pull the glove off so that it is inside out, holding the first glove. Dispose of both gloves in the proper receptacle (the ground outside the supermarket is not the proper disposal location!) 

Alternatively, just wash your hands or use hand sanitizer whenever you believe you’ve touched a contaminated item. It’s much more efficient and reduces the amount of wasted gloves. 

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle 

The real take home message here is not to use PPE ineffectively; it reduces the supply for healthcare providers that really need it and it does little to reduce infection. Masks should be used sparingly and should be treated like part of your face (read: not touched except to put on or remove). 

Gloves are largely useless unless they are removed after each time you touch contaminated items; at their worst, they help spread contamination because they reduce the likelihood of hand washing or hand sanitization. They should not be re-used but they should be disposed of in the trash after use. 

If you plan to use PPE, do your part! Trash is piling up in parking lots across the country; this trash is not only unsightly and bad for the environment, but potentially dangerous as it can hold infectious particles. 


Ready to discuss measures for reducing the likelihood of becoming sick? Still suffering from aches and pains? Give us a call at (321) 972-2008 to speak with us about what you can do at home or make an appointment to be seen!

About the Author

Dr. Orsino, your local Winter Park chiropractor, focuses on preventative health by utilizing a mixture of traditional chiropractic techniques, modern equipment, and wellness advice to provide long lasting results to his patients. He also enjoys writing, video games, and the occasional matcha frappe.

Paladin Chiropractic

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