'Misuse of gloves raises coronavirus infection risk'

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Improper use of surgical gloves as a preventive measure against coronavirus could possibly backfire -- increasing the risk of infection, according to a Turkish doctor.

"I see people at the airport who wear gloves and touch all dirty surfaces and then their mask. They will infect themselves," said Dr. Yeşim Taşova, an infectious disease expert.

She said most people who wear gloves do not wash hands frequently.

"There is no need to wear gloves. Carry a little cologne with you, maintain your hand hygiene frequently right after touching something, this is the most important thing. Leave the use of gloves to us," said the doctor, who works at the Çukurova University Balcalı Hospital in Turkey's southern province of Adana.

Taşova is also a member of the Health Ministry's taskforce on coronavirus.

She noted that they are promoting the use of cologne for cleaning hands, as with 60 to 90% alcohol levels they are ideal disinfectants.

"For example after sneezing, one should quickly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand hygiene is the most important factor in the fight here," she said.

On the usage of protective masks, she said, only high-risk patients should wear them to avert the outbreak.

However, she said, people who use public transportation cheek by jowl could also wear a mask.

"But when you wear a mask, it should never be touched, you shouldn't touch it to fix it. Especially, if you contacted the environment, touched the table, the chair, the door handle, and then your mask, you first infect yourself," she said.

On grocery shopping, she said everyone touches the products on shelves, so packaged goods should be washed with soap and water.

Fresh fruits and vegetable should be rinsed thoroughly and kept in the fridge after they dry.

She added that it was important to frequently open the windows in the house for ventilation.

"It is advised to change clothes after coming home from work and take a shower if possible. Don't enter the house with your shoes on," she said.

Taşova urged people to also clean the "frequently touched areas" with alcohol-based hand sanitizers or alcohol-based wipes, referring to objects such as mobile phone, computer keyboard and elevator buttons.

She added that the elderly, who are at a greater risk of contracting the virus, should be taken care of.

Noting that extended family lives together in Turkey, she said, "elderly people are at a risk, especially if they have lung diseases or high blood pressure".

Turkey has reported three deaths from the virus so far.

Since first being detected in Wuhan, China in December, the novel coronavirus has claimed more than 9,000 lives globally, according to global data maintained by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Over 222,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in at least 159 countries and territories, with Europe as the new epicenter of the pandemic, according to the U.S.-based university.

Despite the rising number of cases, most people who get infected suffer mild symptoms and recover.

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