Are your winter mittens making you sick? How to avoid glove germs

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Monday, January 18, 2016
How to avoid getting glove germs
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ABC's Becky Worley has the details

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's no secret that winter gloves keep you warm, but could they also be making you sick?

ABC took to the snowy surroundings to swab wool, leather and nylon gloves to test for bacteria and viruses.

What we found was that 26 of 27 samples tested were positive for bacteria. And while most were harmless, nine of those tested positive for bacteria like Staph and MRSA, which could be harmful if they come in contact with an open wound. One sample tested positive for the Coronavirus, which doctors say is one of the causes of the common cold.

"Every time your glove comes into contact, you're taking away some of the bacteria that was on that surface," said Dr. Susan Whittier, director of clinical microbiology service at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

The good news is that bacteria and viruses are not going to be alive on the glove for very long, maybe just hours or minutes, because it has nothing to help it survive.

Experts say let your glove air dry, and don't keep them balled up in your pockets. Wash your gloves often, and you can even use a disinfectant wipe for certain fabrics. The number one rule, though, is to be conscious not to touch your face.

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