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With December fast approaching, it will soon be winter, at least by the definition used by the Met Office. While that may start with fairy lights and Christmas trees, it also means cold, dark weather.

In such circumstances, many more people will be wearing gloves to keep their hands warm. That might raise a question for those who would normally wear finger covers to prevent infection when using touch screen devices or keypads like those on ATMs. Will this be necessary if other uses have gloves on, meaning they can’t pass on their germs? 

The answer is yes, for a range of reasons.

Firstly, not everyone will be wearing gloves. Many don’t feel comfortable in them, or will spend little time outdoors in winter anyway and thus not feel the need. Some hardy souls will brave low temperatures with their hands uncovered.

Secondly, most gloves won’t work with touch screens and many people might feel more comfortable taking their gloves off to use them, or to tap on a keypad.

In addition to this, it is important to remember that just wearing loves does not mean people won’t be passing on germs. True, they won’t be breathing or sneezing onto the skin of their hands while they have gloves on, but nor will they have washed their hands before putting gloves on. This means if they take them off and use a keypad or touch screen, the germs remain.

All this actually matters more in winter because that is when seasonal diseases like flu are most prominent. Whether it is this, a new surge in Covid or other viruses circulating at a higher level during the winter, the chances of these being passed on via surfaces people’s hands will touch is higher than at other times of the year. Wearing gloves some of the time will not prevent this.