LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A Las Vegas doctor said people around the valley are not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly.
"Masks do have some benefits, but it’s not what people think," said Dr. Cole Sondrup.
Dr. Sondrup is the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Southern Hills Hospital. He said masks most likely won’t prevent you from getting COVID-19, unless it prevents you from touching your face.
However, he said from what he's seen around the valley, that's not happening.
"As you talk, as you chew, you’ll notice the mask kind of sags and most people end up pulling the masks up during the day. And they end up touching the mask, and adjusting the mask and end up contaminating yourself from the mask," said Dr. Sondrup.
Dr. Sondrup said to think of the mask as having two sides: one clean, one dirty. Every time someone or something touches the outside, it becomes contaminated and useless.
The safest areas to touch are the ear loopholes.
"When it does help, is if you are coughing or if you are sick, it will prevent you from spreading a viral infection," said Dr. Sondrup.
Before COVID-19, surgical masks were never reusable.
"Now that they’re such a short supply, there are a lot of people who are coming up with ways to clean them on their own sterilize them. I don’t know a lot of them that work very well," said Dr. Sondrup.
Dr. Sondrup said if you plan on reusing a mask, the best option is making it out of cloth and washing it daily.
Gloves aren’t meant to be reused either.
"You see a lot of people these days in the grocery stores with gloves on. You have to realize gloves are intended for you to go into a contaminated area and touch a lot of contaminated things and then take the gloves off before you go back out to a clean area," said Dr. Sondrup.
If you use gloves to touch contaminated shopping carts, shelves or food items, you have to take them off before you get in your car or your house. Otherwise, you're likely just spreading more germs.
"More useful than using gloves is probably just having hand sanitizer."
If you do wear gloves make sure to take them off without touching the outside. Pinch the outside of one hand and pull it inside out. Then once you have a clean hand, place your thumb under the wrist of the other glove and pull your hand out.
Don’t forget about the germs on your phone, too.
"You can take sanitizing wipes and you can just wipe your phone down and you probably should be doing that multiple times a day," said Dr. Sondrup.
Keep in mind where you put it afterwards.
"If you just put it right back in your pocket, that might not be the cleanest place either," said Dr. Sondrop.