Local doctor speaks out about glove, mask misconceptions

JACKSON, Tenn. — Many West Tennesseans are wearing personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves, when out for errands or at work outside of the healthcare field.

Did you know the CDC guidelines actually recommend wearing a mask only if you’re sick?

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“I think, in general, people are nervous, and that’s certainly understandable,” Jackson Clinic family medicine physician and chief quality officer Dr. Cindi Swaim said. “The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a face mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.”

Dr. Swaim said, unless you’re sick, there’s no need to wear a mask in public.

“Face masks should be used by people who have COVID-19 and who are showing symptoms,” Dr. Swaim said. “So, if you’re in a household where other people are present, this is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.”

Some choose to wear gloves while out at the store, but Dr. Swaim says it’s not required or recommended for protection.

“Your gloves become your hands. Whatever you’ve touched with your gloves, then you touch your face or something else,” Dr. Swaim said. “If you do wear gloves out in public, I would remove them when you got home and then wash your hands really well, even after removing the gloves.”

She recommends disinfecting anything you touched while wearing the gloves.

Even if you opt out of wearing gloves, she recommends disinfecting frequently touched areas like door knobs, sink handles, light switches and phones.

She also recommends social distancing, keeping six feet between you and the next person.

“I try to think of the length of a person or a couch, that type of visual in your mind to think about six feet,” Dr. Swaim said.

Some reports are showing other countries with lower COVID-19 numbers and credit wearing masks as a possible reason.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News