Medical gloves are examples of personal protective equipment that are used to protect the wearer and/or the patient from the spread of infection or illness during medical procedures and examinations. Medical gloves are one part of an infection-control strategy.
Sterile gloves are not to be confused with the gloves prehospital providers wear in the normal line of duty; those gloves are "clean" but are not truly "sterile". Sterile gloves are packaged in pairs after having gone through a lengthy and expensive sterilization process and are kept in their packaging until needed whereas day-to-day gloves often come boxed in cardboard by the hundred.
The procedure for donning sterile gloves is more complicated than for "normal" gloves but the procedure for doffing both sets of gloves is identical (they are both contaminated at this point).
Sterile gloves, as mentioned previously, come packaged in pairs and are fully sterile when the package is opened. It is important that any part of the glove which could contact the patient remains sterile and as such should not be touched by anything but another sterile glove when donning the pair. These gloves are longer than most "normal" gloves and have a rolled down cuff which bares the inside of the glove in a way that the gloves may be picked up with non-sterile hands or gloves without compromising the outward aspect's sterility. As long as the outward aspect of the glove remains sterile, the gloves are otherwise donned similarly to "normal" gloves, one finger in each finger of the glove.
When to use medical gloves[edit | edit source]
Use medical gloves when your hands may touch someone else's body fluids (such as blood, respiratory secretions, vomit, urine or feces), certain hazardous drugs or some potentially contaminated items.
What you should know before using medical gloves
- Wash your hands before putting on sterile gloves.
- Make sure your gloves fit properly for you to wear them comfortably during all patient care activities.
- Some people are allergic to the natural rubber latex used in some medical gloves. FDA requires manufacturers to identify on the package labeling the materials used to make the gloves. If you or your patient is allergic to natural rubber latex, you should choose gloves made from other synthetic materials (such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nitrile, or polyurethane).
- Be aware that sharp objects can puncture medical gloves.
- Always change your gloves if they rip or tear.
- After removing gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Never reuse medical gloves.
- Never wash or disinfect medical gloves.
- Never share medical gloves with other users.
Latex allergy[edit | edit source]
In most cases, latex allergy develops after many previous exposures to latex. Latex allergy symptoms may include hives, itching, stuffy or runny nose. It can cause asthma symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. Symptoms begin within minutes after exposure to latex containing products.