Why you shouldn’t eat at restaurants without gloves
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By Chris Walker, The New Scientist cover article If you are going to eat in a restaurant, don’t forget to wear gloves, say experts, who say they are crucial for the health of those working at a buffet, a restaurant or a hostel.
“There is a strong argument that gloves protect people from being exposed to pathogens, particularly those in the restaurant environment,” said Stephen Lacey, a professor of environmental health at Imperial College London.
The argument has been made in other places too.
A study published in the British Medical Journal last year found that workers at an upscale restaurant in London had higher rates of diarrhoea and pneumonia, compared to the general public.
In the US, the National Institutes of Health has published research which found that people working in hospitals are more likely to get respiratory infections, as they tend to wear more gloves than those in general public settings.
In a report released last month, the health department warned of the threat that the lack of gloves posed to workers, especially at busy hospitals.
“Workers at large public hospitals may have to wear disposable gloves, and may not always be able to obtain gloves that meet the quality and durability standards that are required to protect them from the pathogens that cause hospital infections,” the report said.
“In the case of private hospitals, it is likely that workers would not have access to gloves, because they would not be in a position to provide personal hygiene products.”
The authors of the new study, which was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, looked at the health impact of wearing gloves at a three-week public health trial in India.
The participants were randomly assigned to receive either gloves with a simple disposable or disposable glove that were given to them every four hours, or to have their gloves replaced by a new disposable one every five hours.
After the trial, the gloves used were the same as those worn at home.
After five years, they had reduced hospitalisations by 50 per cent, the authors found.
The authors said the findings showed that gloves were a major factor in reducing hospitalisation, especially for those with severe respiratory infections.
“They may be useful for preventing infection,” said Dr Lacey.
You can spread infection to other people and, therefore, it could increase the risk of other illnesses.” “
It’s really important to remember that when you wear gloves at home, you also take a risk.
You can spread infection to other people and, therefore, it could increase the risk of other illnesses.”
The study, by Dr Lacy and colleagues from the University of Southampton and the University at Buffalo, found that when they compared gloves with disposable gloves at work, there was a 50 per-cent reduction in hospitalisations, with no significant differences in hospitalisation rates at home or at a hostess’ house.
The findings are important for anyone working in a public or private hospital, but also for those who are not.
“If you are working at home and you are a doctor or nurse, you might want to consider the fact that you can get sick in public and you might be more likely than others to develop illness there,” said Prof Lacey from Imperial.
“Or you might think about whether you want to wear a glove in public, and whether that’s something you want your kids to do as well.”
The UK government has been researching gloves since 2011, when the Royal College of Physicians said that it wanted to encourage doctors to wear them.
“As the gloves become more popular, we are seeing more people who are wearing them,” said a spokesperson for the Royal Colleges.
“This research also highlights the importance of having gloves in public settings to reduce transmission of infections.”
A recent report by the Department of Health, which looked at gloves at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, found the use of gloves was lower than at other hospitals.
It found that the use at the hospital was low.
“Although we believe that gloves are the most effective method of reducing transmission of infection, they are not a panacea for the infection transmission problem that is a major concern in hospitals,” said Professor Lacey in a statement.
The study found that while the use and effectiveness of gloves may be declining, the government is working on making them more readily available.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre, which provides health and social care information to all Australians, said it was working to increase the availability of disposable gloves.
By Chris Walker, The New Scientist cover article If you are going to eat in a restaurant, don’t forget to…