NHS doctor explains why gloves won't protect you from coronavirus

NHS doctor demonstrates why wearing gloves at the supermarket will NOT protect you from coronavirus – using a marker pen to show how they accumulate germs when you touch things

  • Dr Karan Raj, a surgeon, shared TikTok video to explain his theory on gloves
  • Argues gloves accumulate germs when you touch things while out and about
  • Says gloves become more full of germs than if you’d just kept washing hands 

An NHS doctor has shared a video discouraging people from wearing gloves to protect themselves from coronavirus.

Dr Karan Raj, a surgeon, posted a clip on TikTok explaining why it’s much better to keep washing your hands regularly to stop the spread of the disease.

His comments are in line with guidance from the NHS, which states that items like face masks and gloves play a ‘very important role’ in a clinical setting but there is ‘little widespread evidence’ that they’re of use to members of the public.

In the video, shared with Dr Raj’s 85,900 followers on the platform, he begins by stating: ‘I’m going to explain why you don’t need to wear gloves when you go out,’ while pointing to a blue latex glove on his hand. 


Dr Karan Raj, a surgeon, posted a clip on TikTok explaining why it’s much better to keep washing your hands regularly to stop the spread of the disease

‘You’ve got your gloves, you’re at the supermarket, you’re touching things.’ 

As he speaks, Dr Raj uses a marker pen to demonstrate how germs accumulate on the glove’s surface.

He explains: ‘There you go, germs. You keep touching more things throughout the day with these same gloves. Germs, everywhere. You’re accumulating germs.

‘Your glove is now more full of germs than your hand would have been if you’d washed each time.’

He adds: ‘And remember, with these same gloves you’ll be touching your steering wheel, you might accidentally touch your hand, transferring the germs to yourself. 


As he speaks, Dr Raj uses a marker pen to demonstrate how germs accumulate on the glove’s surface 

‘And then when you’re changing your gloves you might be actually touching the glove itself!’

Dr Raj concludes: ‘Just wash your hands, be sensible, stay safe.’

The video, viewed 372.2K times, has attracted more than 22.3K likes and 601 comments on the platform.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that the best way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is to wash your hands frequently, ideally with soap and water for 20 seconds, as well as avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands to prevent the virus entering your body.

How you should be washing your hands

Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the ‘Happy Birthday’ song from beginning to end twice.

Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus, only leaving for very limited purposes and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household when you do.

The acceptable reasons for leaving your home are to shop for basic necessities – for example food and medicine – as infrequenty as possible, one form of exercise a day, any medical need including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, and travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

Some supermarkets including branches of Tesco are providing disposable gloves to customers to wear while they shop.

Dr Raj also has a video on TikTok demonstrating the safest way to remove latex gloves, should you be required to wear them.

In it, he pinches the glove on one hand at the palm before pulling it off over your hand, then for the other he slides his finger underneath the glove at the wrist, taking care to only touch the inside before rolling it off over your hand and the other glove in one go.  

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