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The One Grocery Shopping Safety Precaution That Doesn't Actually Work

You're better off without this piece of PPE.
Focused woman taking off face mask while choosing fruits in grocery store.

We've written a lot about how to stay safe when grocery shopping in the time of coronavirus. Everything from choosing the right time to shop, the right store to shop at, and heeding to social distancing guidelines can significantly diminish your risk of contracting COVID-19, even as the country starts to reopen.

Another really important factor in your own safety is choosing the right personal protective equipment. We know that wearing masks in public can protect us and others, but the one piece of equipment that seems to be more of a gray area is gloves. Are gloves worth your time or do they just give a false sense of security while not doing anything to really protect you? It seems the answer is closer to the latter.

CDC's guidelines recommend wearing gloves only when cleaning or caring for a sick person. Their website states that "wearing gloves outside of these instances (for example, when using a shopping cart or using an ATM) will not necessarily protect you from getting COVID-19 and may still lead to the spread of germs."

Experts agree that gloves don't provide any more protection than bare hands. Patricia Dandache, MD, an infectious disease specialist, says that wearing gloves isn't wrong per se, however "most people aren't wearing or disposing of their gloves correctly, which defeats the whole purpose." This basically means that you could spread germs with your gloves just as you would with your hands, and wearing them is no more effective than hand washing.

If you're touching objects like door knobs and ATM machines with gloves and then touching your face as well, you're running the exact same risk as you would without them."Social distancing, not touching your face, sanitizing your hands after you're done shopping, followed by washing your hands is a reasonable approach to avoid acquiring the virus in the store," explains Dr. Dandache.

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Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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