Infection Control Lecture #1: Magic Gloves

I suspect a lot of food service-oriented businesses don't really understand the basic principles of infection control, and that the "education" that management offered their employees around vinyl gloves consisted of just handing the gloves out, and saying, "here, put these on, and get to work!"

That and only that would explain why so many food handlers treat their gloves as though they are magic, and somehow actually KILL bacteria and viruses on contact, and why they wear that one pair for what looks like the whole shift.

Before food outlets closed their doors and started doing all business through the drive-by windows, I saw a LOT of "magic glove behavior." Maybe you got to see some of what I did too. Employees wearing the same pair of gloves they had on after handling the last customer's money and making change for them - coins and paper money are both generally less sanitary than raw shit, by the way - and then they would go on and start pulling together MY order, until I found my balls and started asking them to take off the old gloves, clean their hands, and put on new gloves, or even just serve me bare-handed with the hands I just saw them clean. I would then give them my standard "RN who used to work Infection Control" talk, the 45 second "Infection Control for Food Handlers 101" talk. Some of them looked like it was the first time they'd heard my information. Others, I could just see "rolling their eyes inside" and tolerating my brief lecture.

Another kind of magic thinking I see lately is in grocery stores, where many employees are wearing plastic face shields that drop down over the face from a forehead band, leaving a lot of space under the chin for droplets to get breathed in. This "protection" won't hurt me the way magic gloves could, but they give the user a false sense of security, and a fraction of the protection of even just a bandana applied "Jesse James robbing a bank" fashion.

My lecture to you, gentle reader: THINK. Don't just follow someone else's safety instructions blindly, think about what you are doing and why you are doing it, and cut the magic thinking out of the picture!

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  • Agreed. A lot of what we are doing now for sanitary reasons is what should be done normally.
    The gloves & masks have become a false sense of security. Wearing the same gloves while preparing food then handling money defeats the purpose. All people know is their hands are covered. How often are surfaces cleaned, spoons cleaned in food. This pandemic has got to create change in many ways.
    The old sign adage in a restaurant bathroom, "All employees must wash their hands" we all hope that this occurs.
    chaseman 04/11/2020 12:27 PM