One of the most critical measures in the workplace is protecting your rights and those of your employees. According to the guidelines following the rules and regulations of occupational safety, every employee has a right to work in a conducive environment. This includes using the appropriate wear to handle risky procedures. Protecting employees from work-related hazards prevents severe health complications, permanent disabilities, legal measures, and third-party claims, among other disruptions. While it is prudent to protect yourself from work-related accidents, it is also vital that select the right PPE. Typically, your choice will depend on the working environment. It is common for folks to make mistakes while selecting gloves. For instance, some stick to old gloves, ignorant about the possible dangers while others pick any glove without assessing the type of work they do. Which types of gloves is best foe medical use? This article outlines essential details regarding selecting the best medical gloves for work. You must evaluate several factors concerning the best gloves for medical use. Below are useful tips to consider before selecting the best medical gloves.
Heat resistant gloves have to constitute material that protects workers from burns and other injuries resulting from touching hot objects. Handling radioactive material also requires the use of heat-resistance medical examination gloves. Radioactive sites in medical facilities pose a significant danger to health workers. This means that personnel working in such areas need to be extra careful. The best gloves for heat resistance are nitrile gloves. According to medical sources and other reliable statistics, nitrile gloves can withstand temperatures from -40 to 226 degrees Fahrenheit. Minimal time of exposure can lead to burns and other short-term radiation exposure effects. Health experts recommend that health workers should wear two layers of nitrile gloves when handling radioactive medical equipment. The type of heat-associated equipment you are working with will determine the best medical gloves to use.
Working in the medical industry means you regularly come in contact with chemicals. Gloves may not withstand very sharp objects if handled without proper care, but they should not split when stretched. Keep in mind that medical work involves different clinical settings. You ought to use gloves that are efficient when working in the majority of clinical situations. The higher the resilience of gloves, the better the protection against pathogens, puncture, and corrosive chemicals. Most nitrile gloves have a thickness of 5 to 8 millimeters, making them one of the best medical gloves for long working hours. It is possible to use nitrile medical examination gloves for a couple of hours without disposal because they shield from every possible clinical-related risk.
Generally, health professionals require gloves with high touch sensitivity. This is because there is a need for discrete details to make proper medical decisions. The thickness of standard gloves ranges from 2 to 15 millimetres. The best medical gloves have a thickness ranging from 2 to 8 millimeters. That said, every department in a medical facility requires gloves based on their unique clinical operations. For example, a health professional working in the surgical department prefers using thin, sterile gloves with high sensitivity. A surgical procedure should be performed with caution, which means the health professional must distinguish little details, such as the difference between veins and arteries. Latex handwear, for example, is the best medical glove to use during a clinical examination. A health expert working in the radiography field requires thicker medical examination gloves to prevent radiation-related injuries.
The best idea when choosing gloves is purchasing pieces that retain their quality for a long time. You ought to use gloves that remain intact even after many instances of repeated use. More so, changing gloves every minute you handle a piece of different equipment can be hectic. Tear and abrasion resistant gloves are significant in all working environments where employees face exposure to abrasive material. Working in any setting involves a lot of friction. Thus, gloves with low tear resistance will expose you to different potential health hazards. Tearing of medical gloves mostly occur during dressing and operation: cuff tearing is the most common. Concerning medical operations, latex and nitrile are the best medical gloves as they are suitable for tearing resistance. Latex gloves are the most elastic. Also, nitrile gloves offer excellent performance as they are almost equally stretchy. Vinyl gloves have low tear resistance. The bottom line is the thicker the glove, the better the resistance to tearing.
Resistance to Chemicals
The use of chemicals is widespread in the medical industry. Statistics show that the medical sector alone is the largest single user of chemicals in the United States. While these substances are vital in initiating treatment procedures, some of the chemical substances are equally dangerous. The best gloves for medical use should meet all the FDA and OSHA regulations concerning PPE resistance to a broad range of chemicals. We use our hands to carry out every operation in medical facilities. Thus, there are frequent possibilities of touching substances that are poisonous to our health and the environment. One of the most vital tips concerning choosing the right medical gloves is checking for the extent of chemical resistance. Latex, nitrile, and vinyl gloves offer resistance to a wide range of chemicals. However, their degrees of resistance vary as they compose of a different material. So far, nitrile gloves are the best medical gloves to handle corrosive chemicals but not recommendable for strong oxidizing acids. Latex gloves are suitable for working with a range of acids but health professionals state that they offer very little chemical resistance.
How should Medical Gloves Fit?
A loose glove exposes you to possible infections. Your gloves should be a proper fit, not too tight or loose. Preferable exam gloves are latex pieces as they are very stretchy; therefore, you have enough room to manipulate your fingers. Should you consider nitrile gloves, select the thin-sized pieces for comfort and flexibility. A glove that is too small will probably cause cuff tearing. Assuming that you are handling a dangerous chemical or pathogen when this happens, lethal consequences will occur. Bear in mind that a perfectly fitting glove should be effortless to don and remove.
How to Put on Your Medical Gloves
Note: Ensure that the disposable gloves are a perfect fit.
1. Remove jewellery if present.
2. Please wash your hands and keep them dry.
3. Remove the gloves from the package.
4. Using the non-dominant hand, pick a piece of glove for the dominant hand.
5. Slide in the gloves for the dominant hand while your fingers are facing downwards.
6. Use your dominant hand to dress the non-dominant hand.
7. Adjust the gloves accordingly.
It is also necessary to know the steps to properly take off medical gloves.
How to Take off Medical Gloves
1. Grasp the outside of the glove at the wrist.
2. Peel the gloves downwards inside out, away from the wrist, while slowly pulling your hands towards your body.
3. Hold the glove you removed with the other gloved hand.
4. Peel the glove from the second hand as you did with the first such that the first glove is inside the second glove.
5. Carefully dispose off the gloves.
6. Wash your hands with water and soap, then pat them dry using a clean piece of cloth.
Excellent performance in any industry requires incredible grip. Working in the medical industry is not an exception. Despite most tools and equipment in the clinical sector being light in weight, handling them requires excellent grip to prevent spillage, damage of tools, and other accidents. Poor glove grip also increases fatigue, which means you will fail to perform your tasks within the stipulated period. Also, you are likely to get musculoskeletal complications because of trying to grip with excessive force. In conjunction with that, disposable gloves with low grip increase the risk of cuts and punctures due to excessive sliding. Latex gloves provide remarkable grip as they are elastic. However, having them on for an extended period can cause sweating, which will reduce grip power. Nitrile gloves are incredible regarding gripping power. Besides being flexible, they have an additional inner lining design that absorbs sweat. This offers comfort for an extended period, thus reducing the time of task performance. New technology enables the manufacture of gloves with a superior coating designed to absorb oil hence enhancing grip power.
You ought to assess allergy risk concerning choosing the right medical gloves. Most people are allergic to latex gloves due to the associated proteins. Latex allergic reactions occur after repetitive exposure to the material. Nonetheless, some people may show allergic reactions after the first few exposures to latex. Apart from protecting oneself, a health worker has to protect patients from any possible medical-associated risks. That said, it is beneficial to recognize even the slightest symptoms associated with latex rubber. The non-threatening symptoms include itching, runny nose, burning sensation, rash, cough, and watery eyes. If you develop difficulty breathing, wheezing, swelling, low blood pressure, and weak pulse, seek emergency medical assistance. Nitrile gloves are excellent alternatives for individual who are allergic to latex. Even so, you have to be selective when purchasing nitrile gloves as some have chemical accelerators, which can also cause allergic reactions.
Protection from Cross-infection
Hospital-acquired infections are common due to cross-contamination from the hands of healthcare workers to patients. The main objective of utilizing gloves is preventing direct contact with pathogens and harmful chemicals. Washing hands and wearing the right exam gloves is one crucial way to prevent healthcare workers from infecting patients with pathogens and vice versa. Aside from causing infections, cross-contamination lead to failed experiments and medical procedures, thereby delaying the enhancement of clinical outcomes. For that reason, the FDA and other healthcare-related organizations outline that medical experts should perform all procedures using sterile gloves. Undoubtedly, gloves provide efficacy in preventing cross-contamination between health experts and patients. However, medical handwear do not provide 100% shielding from microorganisms and chemicals. Clinical experts should, therefore, stick to using single-use medical gloves. A study conducted at an undisclosed healthcare facility revealed that a healthcare worker’s reusable gloves still had infectious microbes several hours after washing and disinfecting the medical gloves. Therefore, it is crucial to have single-use disposable medical gloves for the safety clinical experts and patients.
Powdered Vs Free Examination Gloves
The difference between powdered and powder-free gloves is the presence of corn starch. Disposable powdered examination gloves are ubiquitous in the medical industry, as they are easy to use. They contain corn starch on the inside: this eases donning, removing, and absorbs sweat during operation. Suppose you are working in a hot environment; the powdered gloves may be your best shot. Powdered medical gloves are available in nitrile, latex and vinyl material. More so, they are more affordable compared to powder-free medical gloves. The downside of powdered medical gloves is that they can interfere with clinical procedures if they contact bruises, tissues, organs and medicinal apparatus.
Furthermore, the gloves are inefficient for use if you need handwear with extraordinary chemical resistance. Powder-free medical gloves are more expensive than powdered gloves. This is because they are more skin-friendly, rarely contaminate wounds and perfect for handling health equipment. Also, gloves without corn starch are the most durable. They are suitable for working with destructive chemicals, oil, and even edibles, not forgetting their high grip level. Selecting powdered or powder-free gloves depends on your budget, interests, comfort, and working environment.
Sterile Vs Nonsterile Medical Exam Gloves
Sterile and non-sterile medical gloves are significant in clinical settings. Sterile medical exam gloves are free from microbes and other potentially infectious substances. For medical gloves to be deemed sterile, they have to meet specific FDA standards regarding aseptic PPE. Typically, sterile gloves are suitable for surgical procedures and any other clinical operations that require sterilization techniques. Health experts can render non-sterile gloves aseptic through autoclaving and other available high-end disinfection procedures. Non-sterile gloves do not pose any health risks to health workers. However, they are unsuitable for surgical techniques. Health workers conduct most non-surgical operations using non-sterile gloves.
Gloves and their Suitable Occupational Settings
Exam Room- Latex Medical Gloves
Disposable latex gloves are the most flexible when it comes to medical handwear. This means you can work with the tiniest medical equipment while manipulating your hands with comfort. Working in a medical exam room requires you to have subtle details because making mistakes even when it comes to minor details can lead to misleading information. Moreover, latex gloves have high touch sensitivity. Despite their low resistance to chemicals, latex gloves are highly efficient for protection against bloodborne pathogens and other potentially harmful microorganisms. Additionally, they are water-proof and resistant to tear.
Janitorial Work-Vinyl Gloves
Cleaning is a hectic and high-risk job. Janitors, too, are at risk of exposure to bacteria, viruses, fungi, corrosive chemicals and other microbes that are invisible to the naked human eye. Therefore, janitorial work is an occupation that requires essential PPE. Following reviews and statistics, the best pair of hand PPE for janitorial work is vinyl gloves. Fortunately, you can reuse janitorial gloves more than once as long as they are still in good shape. Vinyl gloves contain polyvinyl chloride. Though not durable as nitrile and latex, vinyl gloves protect janitors from ordinary cleaning chemicals. Another advantage regarding vinyl gloves is that they are latex-free, thus rare cases of allergic reactions.
Food Industry- Nitrile Gloves
When purchasing gloves for the food industry use, you have to check for the FDA certification. Can you use medical gloves for cooking? No, some disposable gloves are poisonous to edibles. Gloves contain chemicals that can contaminate food and cause health difficulties when ingested. According to Lauren Olson, the Science Campaign Director at the Ecology Center, plasticizer chemicals found in some food service gloves pose serious health effects, mainly to pregnant women and children. For instance, vinyl gloves contain poisonous plastic and therefore not appropriate for use in the food industry. According to the CDC, disposable nitrile gloves are the best for sorting both raw and cooked edibles. Besides, the gloves are latex-free, therefore incapable of harming people who are allergic to latex material. Nitrile gloves prevent cross-contamination between hands and edibles due to their high degree of general resistance.
Lab Research and PVC Gloves
Lab research entails a lot of high-risk laboratory techniques and procedures. Working in a medical laboratory involves handling a variety of chemicals and highly infectious substances. We are talking about blood, stool, pus, tissues, to mention a few. Therefore, a lab technician must use disposable gloves that are efficient considering protection against bloodborne pathogens, airborne microorganisms, and chemicals. PVC gloves are not the most suitable for laboratory healthcare workers. According to the CDC outlines, PVC gloves are okay to use in settings where protection against pathogens and injuries are less of a priority. It is okay to use PVC gloves in a laboratory setting but only when dealing with non-infectious and non-corrosive chemicals.
Industrial Use-Neoprene Gloves
Neoprene gloves are best for use where employees are dealing with high-risk corrosive chemicals. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that protects against a range of acids, oils and solvents. Industrial workers have to use the necessary PPE as they contact some of the most lethal chemical substances. Such health hazards include organic peroxides, oxidizers, flammable liquids, nephrotoxins, corrosives, and reproductive toxins. Neoprene gloves are chemical resistant are available in a variety of compounds. A significant benefit of using neoprene gloves is their water-proof ability, which is very useful when working in wet environments. Neoprene gloves are also weather-resistant, thus flexible to a wide range of temperatures. Their tensile strength and varying densities contribute to their efficacy in handling abrasive and hot substances.
How much are Medical Gloves?
The price of gloves varies, depending on the material constitute. The price of a latex gloves’ package ranges between $9 and $15. Nitrile gloves are more expensive as they range between $8 and $28 per package. Vinyl gloves are cheaper as they cost between $5 and $10 per package.
Where to Buy Medical Gloves
The best medical gloves are available in the majority of medical supply organizations. For instance, you can buy medical gloves wholesale at Health Supply World. This is a reputable organization approved for supplying PPE that meet all the FDA standards. Here, you can get disposable medical gloves in bulk at pocket-friendly prices. Alternatively, it is possible and more convenient to purchase disposable medical gloves from online stores. Ensure that you are purchasing the gloves from a certified, reputable manufacturer.