Wearing disposable gloves for travel

I haven’t flown since the end of February, which is by far the longest period of time I’ve gone not traveling in my adult life. Prior to this pandemic, it was just three to four weeks … and that felt like a long time!

At first, I didn’t fly because I was following the CDC guidelines, which discouraged flying unless you absolutely had to. I also didn’t fly because doctors I knew or read articles about said they would rather treat COVID-19 patients in a hospital than get on a packed plane! And then there are other reasons, too:

-I have two little kids that I would have to leave at home and I don’t want to put them at risk upon my return.

-I have nowhere really to go. I can’t visit my dad since he’s 91 and lives in a senior’s home in Florida. So I don’t want to take a chance visiting with him and risk spreading the virus. There are no paid travel gigs out there and we’re still in the early innings of this pandemic so it’s not a time to be careless.

-There are not a lot of places Americans can legally travel to.

-I don’t want to quarantine on either end of my trip.

-I have a history of asthma and don’t want to risk it.

RELATED: What I Wore to Stay Safe While Flying

There are countless things that I miss about travel, including learning new tips and tricks. Each time I get on a plane, I always pick up some new piece of advice.

Lately, I’ve been finding travel hacks through articles and one that I’ve read about a couple of times recently is wearing layers of gloves.

Some travelers swear by them, including, Mika Manninen who has flown at least 33 times during the pandemic; I wrote about him a couple of months ago. He told CNBC: “When I enter the airport, I wear multiple layers of disposable gloves, and I peel them off as I go through it. Trams, escalators — peel a layer, check-in, use a kiosk with a touch screen — peel a layer, TSA security check — peel a layer. I did not realize how many surfaces I actually touch until I started paying attention to it.”

In another story I read, CNN Travel interviewed Dr. Jennifer Haythe, a critical care cardiologist at Columbia University Center. She says, “You can’t have too many gloves when you’re getting from point A to point B via plane, according to Haythe. She says one easy way to be cautious is to pack many pairs of gloves for the journey.

“Wear a few layers of gloves and peel them off as you go through the airport,” she continues. “Remove one pair after security, another after boarding and finally when you arrive at your seat.”

They recommend these disposable gloves: Dre Health Powder-Free Disposable Gloves, 100-Pack ($29.98; amazon.com)

However, according to the CDC, gloves are not recommended for travel or even when you’re running errands. They state on a dedicated page that wearing gloves outside of caring for a sick person (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.

“The best way to protect yourself from germs when running errands and after going out is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.”

I can see what the CDC is saying and why wearing gloves can potentially spread more germs. That’s why Manninen and Haythe both recommend layering the gloves so that you can peel off and dispose of the dirty ones. And then of course, there’s the environmental concern of using and disposing of multiple pairs of gloves. Frequent hand washing and not touching your face is probably your best bet but what do you think? Is this something you would try?

6 Comments On "Disposable Gloves: To Wear or Not to Wear?"
  1. K D Morgan|

    It was the CDC who said we didn’t need masks in February. The CDC has lost so much credibility with me during this crisis that their so-called “guidance” on disposable gloves doesn’t mean a heck of a lot. So I use disposable gloves often – especially when going to any store. Although the stores I patronize do a good job of cleaning sufaces and handles, I’m not willing to rely on that, so I wear the gloves.

    I am concerned about the waste from these gloves, so, rather than just toss them after one wearing, I put hand sanitizer on the gloves and also on my hands when I get back in the car. When I get home, I wash the gloves with soap and water for 30 seconds and let them air dry. Then I sterilize them in my Phonesoap device, and they’re ready to use again. I throw away the gloves only after I get a tear in them.

  2. Rich|

    Seems like a lot of work when actual soap and water will do the trick. Washy washy. If you touch your face with gloves after touching other surfaces, there is truly no benefit at all. You are then cross contaminating any surface you touch with you gloves. Just wash your hands.

  3. Toni Powell|

    Often gloves will not work on touch screens. I always take disinfectant wipes and use them between my hand and any high touch surfaces (grocery cart, gas pumps, ATM, credit card terminals, hand rails). I’m protecting myself and cleaning surface for next person. I read about Dr. Brite products on this blog and really love them. Very environmentally friendly and easy on the skin surfaces. Disposable gloves have their uses but not good for the environment.

  4. Benesse|

    I don’t trust CDC or WHO.. I read and do what makes sense to me. In the first half of the pandemic I wore gloves all the time when out, even if it was just walking in the park. Gradually, I phased it out and now wear them only when going to a doctor at a hospital, in cabs and public transportation. I never touch my face so that’s not a problem. I never thought of layering because my hands get pretty hot and sweaty even with just one pair on and for a prolonged period of time it can get pretty miserable with several layers on. I never touch my face so that’s not a problem. I never touch my face so that’s not a problem. I never touch my face so no problem there. Also I’d rather not go to a public bathroom if I can help it and using a hand sanitizer isn’t always practical when you are on the go, schelepping, and need to have your wet, hand sanitizer hands air dry. What I do is carry half a dozen gloves in my purse to change out of when I get to a stopping point.

  5. Cindy|

    I took a flight in January and didn’t wear a mask but now wish I had because I came down with a cold most likely from one of the planes I was on. I will use a mask on the next fight because of the closed quarters.

  6. Kathy|

    I’m confused with this article. I just read that the TSA will make you take off your disposable gloves because they will think that you have explosive residue on your hands. So which is? To wear gloves to protect yourself from the thousands of germs at the airport OR looking suspicious going through security at the airport with layers of gloves? Didn’t they stop you and make you take them off?

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