Covid-19 and compressive garments

The spread of the Covid-19 virus and the protective measures put in place lead patients to ask themselves some questions, especially about their compression garments.

Does the antibacterial gel on the skin damage compression garments?

To limit the risk of Covid-19 spreading, it is recommended to wash your hands regularly with soap and water, and to avoid touching your face. The use of a hydroalcoholic gel is an alternative when this is not possible.

Although no data exist on the effect of the hydroalcoholic gel on compressive garments, the risk of premature ageing of the device cannot be completely ruled out.

In addition, it is not recommended to disinfect compression garments by applying hydroalcoholic gel. There is no evidence that this procedure is effective. It is therefore preferable to wash the compression garments according to the manufacturer’s usual instructions.

Is washing the compression garments as recommended enough to eliminate the virus?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued several recommendations regarding the disinfection of household linen and clothing:


  • If you are handling clothing from someone with Covid-19, sterile gloves should be used and discarded after use.
  • If reusable gloves are worn, they should be reserved for disinfection. They should not be used for other functions. Be sure to wash your hands after removing the gloves.
  • If gloves are not used when handling contaminated laundry or clothing, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face before washing.
  • Do not shake contaminated or dirty laundry to avoid spreading a potential virus into the air.
  • Contaminated people’s clothing can be washed with the rest of the laundry.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s washing/drying instructions using the highest permitted temperature.
  • Dry the laundry completely.
  • Consider disinfecting the laundry bin according to its composition

What are the interactions, advantages and disadvantages of a polyvinyl protective glove and/or sleeve above the compression garment?

The wearing of a PVC glove over the compressive garment is possible in the context of a single use. It is thus necessary to choose a glove of higher size not to apply an overpressure or to cause a withers effect. The use of this type of glove for one-time needs, such as cleaning, must be limited in time to avoid temperature increase, keep the compressive glove breathable and do not increase the risk of maceration and skin infection.

No data exist as to the interest of protection by a polyvinyl sleeve over the compressive garment. On the contrary, the continuous wearing of this type of device over compressive clothing can even be dangerous (withers, maceration, injury, skin infection, etc.).

In case of necessary exit despite confinement, it is best to wear a comfortable garment (long sleeve jacket) over the sleeve and wash it regularly.

The best preventive measures remain the washing of the limb with soap and water for more than 20 seconds, confinement and social distancing.

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