LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — More and more people are wearing masks and gloves when they go out in public to avoid contracting — or passing on — coronavirus. But doctors say there’s a right way and a wrong way to protect yourself.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are now recommending people wear masks in public to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Others are taking it a step further by wearing rubber gloves, especially when working with the public in grocery stores.
However, if hands are dirty before even picking up a sterile mask, all that effort could actually end up with making a person sick.
Keck Medicine of USC’s Dr. Carolyn Kaloostian says putting on new gloves is basically fool proof, but where people should be cautious is taking them off.
“You wanna use your dirty finger, and your dirty glove without touching your clean hand, for the most part,” she said, demonstrating using the gloved fingers of one hand to pinch the palm of the glove of the other hand to pull it off.
The now de-gloved, but still-clean hand can be used to hook a finger under the other hand’s glove to pull it off and dropped into a trash can.
She also demonstrated how to put on and take off a face mask with minimal contact between hands and the face.
“And before you touch your face, make sure you have clean hands,” Dr. Kaloostian said.
Masks and gloves should generally not be reused, but both pieces of protective gear have been in short supply. Dr. Marc Kerner of Dignity Health Northridge says gloves can be washed with soap and water if necessary. Masks can also be cleaned, he said.
“You can actually spray these kinds of masks with a 5 percent bleach solution and you can actually let them dry and reuse them,” he said.
Dr. Kerner also demonstrated how people can hack together their own N95 masks with HVAC filter material.
“You can basically make another layer of protection,” he said.