Hey guys, here is hoping that you had a better work week than me…it sucked major ass, multiple calls left and right at all hours of the night.  I so need a vacation…if you are a not a nurse, you won’t know what I am talking about; somehow codes always come in right at shift change or during sleep; and it’s not like you can say “sorry, shift over, gotta go”.  I have not only stayed past my shift but also coming in when codes come in at three o’clock in the morning.  Once I get home, the last thing I want to think about is if I have groceries; mainly it’s all about turning off my phone and going to Dream Land.  Unfortunately for me, this past week I did not have anything in the fridge other than spoiled lentils…Yay me (insert eye roll here).

Many of you know (or you don’t know) that I am notorious, and probably the only vegan you will meet, that can’t keep plants alive…sad but true.  Since I suck at keeping plants alive and can’t even grow herbs, I had to go to the nearest grocery store and to my surprise and disgust, I still see some people wearing gloves without sanitizing or changing them and as luck will have it, when at the checkout, I noticed that the cashier was also wearing gloves.  She neither changed the gloves nor sanitized her hands in between customers.  I have hated seeing this since Covid started, and I understand that non-medical people do not know how wearing gloves can be so unsanitary.

Before she had a chance to grab what I had put on the conveyor belt, I asked her to please use sanitizer or to change the gloves and the response was an eyeroll, refusal and attitude.  Guys…I saw red.  I was sleep deprived, hungry, and really pissed off; I stopped everything and requested to see the manager, which made this cashier even more belligerent, especially because there were people staring at us and it had gone a bit quiet.  To make the story shorter, manager came, and I explained the cashier’s refusal, and my reasoning.  Manager was understanding, especially after I mentioned that her refusal is like me as a nurse, using the same pair of gloves with every patient for twelve hours without changing them or washing my hands.  I got many murmurs of approval and even the cashier with the manager were taken aback and you could see the light bulb turn on.  Let’s look at this from my medical perspective:

In medical settings, gloves are designed to be a barrier between bare skin and contaminated surfaces or body fluids like blood, urine, feces, etc.  (We do not need to get too in depth of other fluids that we may come in contact with!).  After care is administered, gloves are removed and discarded after EACH PATIENT.  An interesting fact, according to the CDC (2018), one gram of poop can contain one trillion germs!  Imagine: someone who did not wash their hands (removed gloves) after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, sneezing, picking their nose…you get the picture.    

 

Let me continue breaking it down for you: 

  1. We have already established that as a nurse I do not use the same gloves on every patient. I even constantly change gloves with the same patient, for example, If I touch a groin, I do not go ahead and touch the equipment with those same gloves.  I change them into a fresh pair and continue doing what I need.  I keep seeing so many people using the same gloves and not changing them or using hand sanitizer on them after touching various surfaces like their cell phones or door handles and even produce at the grocery store. 

  2. It can be a lack of education that some people do not realize that they must change gloves after touching contaminated surfaces. If you take a moment to people watch, you’ll see people coming out of the bathroom wearing gloves (shudder), get into their cars and even touch the steering wheel with those same gloves. 

It does make you wonder how much cross-contamination there is… 

  1. Cashiers, not only in grocery stores, but in other places are wearing gloves while they take payment or when wiping their stations down, without changing or using hand sanitizers on their gloves or hands!

  2. Also, gloves do not belong on the floor or on the street, but in the trash. Seriously? How hard can it be to throw away gloves in the trash can?

    All that bacteria from unsanitized gloves can end up in your face, hair, and other surfaces if you touch contaminated surfaces and then you touch yourself.  I think gloves are giving us a false sense of security while unknowingly helping to spread the virus or other diseases.  People are not aware of how they are causing more harm than good. 

Guys, this about our safety, do not be afraid to speak up when you see something like this.  You do not have to be rude to ask this request, if you do have a problem, simply ask to see a manager like I did.  A bit of embarrassment on creating a scene will be small compared to been in a hospital sick; remember, this is about your health and no one has a say in it but you.   

With PEace and gratitude,

Alba 

                                                                           

                                                                                   

                                                                              References

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018).  Show Me the Science – Why Wash Your Hands?  Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html