Can You Get Sick from Germs on your Gloves?

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About the Flu

Republished from 2018

Last year, on Good Morning America, I was asked to comment about the danger of the the flu virus attaching itself to the gloves we wear to keep our hands warm. I’ll jump at the chance to talk about the flu, which has killed more than 100 people including 20 children and has officially become an epidemic. There is much to say. For these short segments, a lot of questions are asked, and then a few soundbites are used. I love the opportunity to reach more people through television, but always wish I had a little more time to fully explain. Check out the video

Here’s what you should know:
The flu is very contagious, but it is most contagious person to person. Directly inhaling droplets from an infected person is the most common what to get the flu. That being said, the influenza virus can live on hard surfaces for hours to days. (The virus that causes the stomach bug can live even longer … ugh!) It will survive for a shorter period of time on more porous things, like tissues and fabric, anywhere from minutes to a few hours. So, when it comes to gloves, the flu won’t hang out there for very long, but that should not give us a false sense of security (that’s the most important thing I said that made the piece.)

If you touch a germy surface and touch your face, you can transmit the virus just as you would by touching your face with bare hands. The gloves though, give us a feeling of protection, but the protection is only against the cold. The germs will live long enough on your gloves to make you sick if you bring them close to your mouth and nose. It may surprise you to know the average person touches his or her face 2000 – 3000 times a day. Don’t even get me started on kids, and the wiping of noses on gloves and hands, and the spreading of germs. Little petri dishes that they are, trying to protect them from germs often seems like a losing battle. At least try to explain to them why it is important to keep their hands away from their face, especially in public. It also can’t hurt to wash your gloves once in a while, or use antiseptic wipes on the more waterproof kind that will hold onto the virus longer.

My three takeaways are:

1. Don’t touch your face with potentially germs hands or gloves.

2. Be mindful of spreading germs if you or your kids are sick.

3. Defend against the flu from within by getting enough sleep, eating well, staying hydrated, exercising and fighting stress.


Everything You Need to Know About the Flu

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.


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