Corona virus: are disposable gloves useful protection or sprouting?

Corona protection? Disposable gloves are a spinner

In the meantime, the wearing of mouth-nose protection in public transport and mostly also when shopping has been made compulsory throughout Germany. However, more and more people can now be seen who not only protect themselves from the corona virus with a mask, but also wear gloves. But does that really make sense?

Whether in the supermarket or on a walk: More and more people are putting on disposable gloves to protect themselves against an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. But according to experts, "bare" hands are actually more hygienic - provided they are washed thoroughly on a regular basis.

Transmission by droplet infection

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the coronaviurs transmission takes place according to the current state of knowledge "above all via respiratory secretions, primarily droplets, for example when coughing and sneezing, as well as certain medical or dental measures that are associated with aerosol formation".

According to the experts, however, indirect transmission, for example via hands or contaminated surfaces in the clinical environment, should also be considered.

Therefore, some people use disposable gloves to protect themselves against corona viruses. But how useful is this measure?

The risk of infection is not contained

The R + V Info Center announced in a message on World Hand Hygiene Day (May 5) that, unlike regular, thorough hand washing, disposable gloves made of latex or rubber do not help to reduce the risk of infection with corona viruses.

“Many people feel better right now when their hands are covered. But when you touch things with gloves, you distribute the viruses to a greater extent than without them, ”explains Friederike Kaiser, consultant doctor at R + V Krankenversicherung.

Because pathogens such as viruses and bacteria adhere better to the skin than to plastics. As a result, they give off the gloves to a significantly larger extent.

"It is also dangerous, for example, if the wearer touches his face with gloves."

Gloves may only be worn for a short time

In addition, the gloves may only be worn for a short period so that they offer protection.

“Firstly, the skin swells up due to sweating and becomes more susceptible to germs. On the other hand, the gloves become porous and therefore permeable. The carriers, on the other hand, often behave as if they are safe, ”says Kaiser.

For this reason, for example, paramedics always put on a new pair of gloves before they come into contact with a new patient - and then dispose of them immediately.

“However, their main concern is protection against pathogens that are transmitted through blood, for example HIV. Corona viruses are not transmitted directly via the hands, but only through contact with the mucous membranes. They can also be easily removed from the hands with soap and water. ”

Thorough hand hygiene

The R + V information center has other tips:

Disposable gloves are disposable items that should generally only be used over a short period of time and never under any circumstances.

The gloves create a deceptive security: With prolonged use, there are hardly any visible holes in the thin material. This also applies when the disposable gloves are washed.

When undressing, it is essential to ensure that the hands do not touch the outside, which is contaminated with germs.

Washing your hands thoroughly with soap is good protection against corona viruses and other pathogens, for yourself and others. It is recommended to soap your hands for at least 20 seconds and then wash them off. To better estimate the time, experts advise singing "Happy Birthday" twice, for example. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • R + V Info Center: Disposable gloves are spinning germs, (call: 02.05.2020), R + V Info Center
  • Robert Koch Institute: Recommendations of the RKI on hygiene measures in the context of the treatment and care of patients with an infection by SARS-CoV-2, (accessed: May 2, 2020), Robert Koch Institute

Video: Can You Wash and Reuse Disposable Gloves? (January 2022).