Wearing gloves gives false sense of safety, says MMA

The MMA says frequent hand washing with soap offers more protection against Covid-19 than wearing rubber gloves. (File pic)

PETALING JAYA: Wearing gloves may help to increase the spread of Covid-19 instead of curbing it, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said.

It said wearing gloves to handle items bought at grocery stores or supermarkets may be giving people a false sense of safety.

MMA president Dr N Ganabaskaran said wearing gloves makes people abandon proper hand washing and hand sanitising as they think gloves are sufficient.

“You can still pick up contamination on rubber gloves. If you then touch your face, the contamination goes from the glove to your face and can infect you,” he told FMT.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Covid-19 virus may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on different conditions such as surface, temperature or humidity of the environment.

Ganabaskaran said frequent hand washing with soap offers more protection against Covid-19 than wearing rubber gloves.

“We advise you to clean with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose,” he said.

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya (UM) epidemiology specialist Dr Sanjay Rampal said proper and rational use of gloves and masks in the community must be implemented.

He said gloves in hospitals are disposed appropriately using clinical waste bins to avoid infection. However, the community is not provided with proper disposal bins.

“Inappropriate disposal of gloves and masks is a big problem.

“Single-use gloves and masks should be wrapped in either a plastic bag or used newspaper before being disposed of,” he said.

Rampal said reusable gloves should be sanitised before being used again.

He said gloves are a non-sustainable alternative in the community compared to good hand hygiene.

He preferred gloves only to be used in hospitals as it has an important preventive role in healthcare facilities.