Disposable Gloves: To Wear or Not to Wear?

Wearing disposable gloves for travelI 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. What do you think? Is this something you would try?

Johnny Jet


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