What LA Bartenders and Your Manicurist Should Have in Common

by Jenna Rosenstein

Getty ImagesGetty Images No glove, no drink? A new food safety law in Los Angeles requires bartenders to snap on the latex while preparing cocktails (at least those that involve "ready-to-eat food" like martini olives, bloody mary celery sticks, or mojito lime slices). The germaphobe in me rejoiced when I heard this--the cleaner the better! But then it got me thinking about what else goes in my mouth--i.e. my hands: Shouldn't manicurists be taking precautions, too?

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A few months ago, I could've sworn I got the flu via a manicure. The technician had been sneezing and coughing, but she'd had on a mask, so I'd felt safe. (Sort of.) A couple of days later, though, I was achy and feverish and cursing my pretty nails. Would gloves have kept me from getting sick?

"Disposable gloves can definitely help prevent transmission of infectious diseases, especially when you are in direct contact with someone, like a manicurist," says Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "One other thought is the spreading of viruses like warts or herpes simplex, both of which can occur on the hands. Gloves can prevent transmission of those infections by providing a physical barrier."

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Ack--call your Congressman! But until there's a law requiring nail technicians to cover up, let's all raise a glass to good old fashioned hygiene: "Washing hands with warm water and soap will help minimize the risk of getting anything," says Zeichner.

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