Disgusting: Used PPE being found scattered across Triangle parking lots, sidewalks


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Everyone is doing what they can to try and protect themselves from the coronavirus. That means practicing social distancing and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and masks.

But CBS 17 has found that people aren’t properly disposing of their used gloves. On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, we found dirty gloves on the sidewalks, in shrubs, and parking lots of retailers and grocery stores across the Triangle.

UNC Health Family Physician Dr. Alexa Mieses said gloves like most PPE need to go in the garbage, not on the ground. Doing so could help protect sanitation workers or store associates who could possibly come in contact with your discarded gloves.

“If you’re working in a place where people are discarding PPE and not doing so in a proper way like placing it in a trash receptacle, the best thing to do if you’re going to handle any of that stuff is wash your hands immediately afterwards” she explained.

“If you have access to gloves and wanted to add an extra layer of protection, that’s fine.You can wear them, but you should immediately throw them away and still wash your hands right away,” Mieses continued.

She said finding so many discarded gloves brings up a number of questions.

“I think the fact that we are finding discarded PPE in the parking lot or on the side of the roads, that brings up a lot of different issues. First question is who is using that PPE in the first place and was it even necessary?” Mieses asked.

She said it also brings up the issue of proper use and disposal of gloves. “Gloves you’re supposed to wear for a short duration of time and you’re still supposed to wash your hands immediately afterwards,” she continued.

Mieses demonstrated how you’re supposed to dispose gloves safely without cross contamination.

“When taking gloves off there is a method that we’re taught as medical professionals, which is as you pull a glove off your hand start back here,” she said while pointing at her wrist.

“You pull forward and you kind of almost want to turn the first glove inside out. You want it to be inside out because whatever was on the outside surfaces is now somewhat contained,” she continued.

Mieses demonstrated further on what to do once you’ve removed one of your used gloves.

“Then you put the inside out glove into the palm of your other hand. Close your hand around it and then pull the other glove off the same way you got the first glove off. So at the end of the day you have one dirty glove inside out that’s in another dirty glove that’s also inside out.”

The next step is to throw the used gloves away.

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