COVID-19: How to Wear a Mask and Gloves the Right Way

Krystal Clark

| 3 min read

Mother wearing a homemade protective mask and putting one to her daughter
Everyone must take necessary precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many consider wearing masks and gloves critical to maintaining their health—particularly, in public spaces. For maximum protection, items must be properly handled before, during and after each use. What type of face masks should people wear? In public settings, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, people can wear cloth coverings made from homemade items like scarves or bandanas. Surgical masks, N-95 respirators and other medical supplies should be reserved for health care workers. What’s the proper way to wear a mask? For effective coverage, masks should fit snugly over the nose, mouth and chin. There should be no gaps between the skin and the covering. Once the mask is set, avoid touching it while in use. How do you safely remove a mask? Do not grab the mask from the front. Instead, remove loops from the ears or untie from behind the head. Damp and single-use masks must be discarded, while cloth coverings can be machine-washed depending on frequency of use. When should gloves be used? According to the CDC, disposable gloves should be worn when treating a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patient. That includes the handling of their clothing and trash. You should also wear gloves when cleaning and disinfecting the home, as well as touching gasoline pumps. Reusable gloves should be restricted to a single task and thoroughly cleaned after each use. Disposable gloves should only be used once and immediately discarded in a proper receptacle. Should you wear gloves at the grocery store? Gloves are not advised for general errands such as grocery shopping due to the high probability of cross-contamination. People can unknowingly spread germs by touching multiple items/surfaces and then their faces. Instead, continue to practice social distancing, staying at least six feet away from others while in public and wash hands as soon as possible after leaving. How do you safely remove gloves? Starting at the wrist, grab the outside of one glove, slowly peeling it away from the body. Do not touch the bare skin. Continue this motion until the glove is completely inverted and off the hand. Place the removed glove in the gloved hand. Slide your bare fingers into the wrist area of the second glove and slowly pull it away from the body. Once it reaches the fingertips, it should completely cover the other glove in-hand. Fully remove and place both in the trash. Please note: After removing masks and gloves, wash hands with soap and water or use sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Read more:
Photo credit: ti-ja
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association