Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the acronym PPE probably didn’t mean much to most of us. Now, we’ve lived through a time when masks and medical gloves have become part of everyone’s lives. Medical gloves are so important to the British healthcare service that they will spend £6 billion on them in the next two years!
Even though we’ve used PPE more than ever, do you know your latex from your nitrile gloves? Can you say when you should use powdered or when powder-free is best?
Read on for the answers to all your questions about the different types of medical gloves that exist today!
Disposable medical gloves are vital to the healthcare industry. They protect both patients and healthcare providers. But if you don’t choose the right gloves, they can cause problems.
The first disposable latex gloves were manufactured in 1964. There are many advantages to latex gloves, including:
- Comfortable to wear
- Good level of sensitivity
The main disadvantage is that many people have a latex allergy and cannot wear them. Now alternatives to latex gloves have been invented that provide the same advantages, but do not cause allergies.
Nitrile is a form of synthetic rubber. It doesn’t contain any latex and is well tolerated by people with a latex allergy. However, they’re not as flexible as latex.
Another advantage of nitrile is that they are more durable and resistant to chemicals. They’re also very puncture-resistant. This makes them ideal for medical practice.
Vinyl is also used to make examination-grade gloves. The gloves fit more loosely and are very inexpensive. They are usually used for short tasks as they are not as durable as nitrile or latex gloves.
They also provide a lower level of protection and are most suitable for use in low-infection settings.
In the past, powdered gloves were common because latex gloves could be difficult to put on. The powder made it easier to put them on and take them off. However, the powder can also be an irritant.
Now, the best medical gloves are easy to put on and take off without the need for powder. In 2017, the FDA banned the use of powdered exam-grade gloves in the United States.
Within the medical industry, there are different grades of gloves. You will usually find them categorized as:
- Examination gloves
- Surgical gloves
- Chemotherapy gloves
Many governments regulate these gloves. They outline which ones a medical practitioner should use in different settings.
Generally, surgical and chemotherapy gloves provide a higher level of protection. Many surgeons and nurses giving chemotherapy practice double gloving for additional protection.
Disposable gloves are vital pieces of medical equipment. All types of medical gloves need to meet high safety standards to protect both the patient and the medical practitioner. Latex is a great natural choice, but if you are allergic, nitrile gloves will provide the highest level of protection.
For more great articles for everyone interested in staying in peak condition, check out our Health and Fitness section today!