Should You Wear Your Rings During the Coronavirus Pandemic? How Jewelry Could Hide Germs

May 4, 2020

As many people practice social distancing, hand washing has become a daily routine to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

While you wash your hands, is your jewelry remaining clean?

Dr. Erum Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist, told Today that professionals in the medical field typically do not wear jewelry on their hands in sanitized environments.

“Wearing rings and keeping our hands clean and less likely to spread infection has been studied over the years, especially with regards to surgical wounds and scrubbing before surgery,” Ilyas said.

The doctor also shared that during surgical procedures, medical professionals are not allowed to wear rings or even nail polish due to concern for bacteria.

Ilyas said that some studies have shown that when you wash your hands while wearing rings, it automatically cleans the piece of jewelry when using soap and water.

However, Ilyas said most nurses, doctors, and surgeons would wear their jewelry on a necklace or tied to their scrubs during medical procedures.

“Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and could potentially linger,” Ilyas said.

Experts do say that it is a good time to stop wearing jewelry during the pandemic. By doing this, it will minimize irritation to the skin and leave it less "susceptible to viruses.”

If you do not want to stop wearing jewelry, there are ways you can adequately clean your rings.

Kate Maller, a jewelry designer behind Kate Maller Jewelry boutique in Denver, said the best way to clean your jewelry is with an unused, clean toothbrush. This will help you get into all the tight spaces, which typically trap bacteria.

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