Coronavirus: Nurse's viral video demonstrates people can still spread germs when they're wearing gloves

A nurse in Michigan is demonstrating just how easily germs can spread at places like the grocery store, even when people are taking the precaution of wearing gloves.

Molly Lixey, a former emergency room nurse currently working in an outpatient infusion clinic, took to Facebook on March 30 for a PSA about the spread of germs, especially during a time when everybody is hyper-aware because of the coronavirus pandemic. There, she demonstrated that even if people are wearing gloves to run necessary errands, they’re likely not being cautious enough about where those germs can end up.

“I had gone grocery shopping that morning and seen many people improperly using their gloves. When I got home I was doing some painting around the house and it hit me that paint would be a perfect medium to use to explain this,” Lixey tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I understand as a nurse, I have had extensive training in the use of PPE, but many people in the general public have not.”

With some green paint and just over three minutes of her time, Lixey put together a “goofy” video to show how quickly those protective gloves go from clean to contaminated.

“I’ve cleaned everything off but I still have my gloves on. So here now I’m in Meijer, I’m getting my groceries and I reach for something,” Lixey said in the video to set the scene. “I take my toilet paper and I put it in my cart, and now if you can see, I have all these germs on my hands from my toilet paper. But it’s on my gloves, that’s fine! Right? But now I’m walking along and my phone rings.”

Throughout the video, Lixey shows how the “germs” go from surface to surface. And although gloves are a source of protection, she points out that it’s important to use them properly.

“A lot of people assume gloves and masks are magic bubbles and it’s just not true. People need to be aware of what they are doing not only to protect themselves but also to protect others,” she explains to Yahoo Lifestyle. “I think it’s just a lack of awareness. If you’ve never been trained in the proper use of PPE, you won’t know how to use it appropriately.”

Lixey goes even further to show just how the improper use of gloves can make the protective gear completely useless after resulting in cross-contamination. “There’s no point in using gloves if you’re not gonna wash your hands every time you touch something. There’s no point,” she said in the video. “Do whatever makes you feel safe. But remember there is some science here, and all this fear is just manifesting people into being crazy and not acting very smart.”

Luckily, the 1.1 million people who have watched her video on Facebook alone as of Monday afternoon are now aware and can be more cautious. “Thanks for making it so simple to understand,” one commenter wrote. “Staying safe is important and awareness on [the] right way of doing things should help.”

Beyond the support of the people who have responded kindly to her video, Lixey also mentions that her husband is in the health care field as well and works as a paramedic. “We really rely on one another to get through all these changes and uncertainty,” she says.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides. 

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