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Buying Examination Gloves – Which Type Is Best? | Exam Gloves
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Buying Examination Gloves – Which Type Is Best?

Whether you work in a fast-paced surgical unit or a rural clinic, examination gloves are a must have to protect yourself, as well as reduce the likelihood of spreading bacteria, viruses or fungal infections.  The right kind of gloves are also a must have in laboratories, where dangerous chemicals can spell disaster if skin contact occurs.  In both cases, having gloves that keep out toxic chemicals or bodily fluids can often prevent an emergency before it happens.  But which type of gloves is best suited to your particular environment?

As when choosing any supplies for everyday use, it all depends on how you’ll be using the gloves.  For example, the toughest medical gloves (as well as the most common) are latex gloves.  Latex provides an unparalleled durability and strength that makes them nearly impervious to rips, tears or holes.  For heavy duty use, whether in a clinical or chemical lab setting, latex is second to none.  When working in a surgical environment, latex examination gloves are the top choice for doctors and nurses alike.  The main downsides for buying latex gloves are their potential to cause allergic reactions on individuals with sensitive skin, as well as the fact that, when used over time,  they can cause dry, chapped hands.  For those with a latex allergy – this can exacerbate the problem.  However, for all their benefits, latex gloves are by far the toughest and most resilient medical gloves you can buy.

If you work primarily in a chemical or pharmaceutical environment, and handle drugs or materials which could cause undesirable side effects (such as chemotherapy medicines), latex gloves offer fantastic protection, but may react with the chemicals and may add to the problem of dry, chapped hands – particularly if you wash and dry your hands often every time you slip on a pair.  In these cases, nitrile gloves are a better choice because of their increased protection against chemicals including acids and alkali solutions.   They’re also a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin or a latex allergy.  In some cases, the cost of nitrile gloves can be off putting, however the excellent barrier they provide against the skin makes them a strong recommendation for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.  When buying nitrile gloves, be sure to check the thickness and formula grade of the gloves to determine if they meet the necessary requirements for the handling of certain drugs or chemicals.  All examination glove manufacturers conduct tests to determine the rigidity, strength and moisture of their gloves.

As with all kinds of examination gloves, nitrile and latex gloves are not completely resistant to wear and tear.  These gloves can be ripped, torn or poked with enough effort.  However, it is generally easy to tell when these gloves are no longer usable.  Cheaper gloves, like vinyl gloves are not recommended for examination use because of the likelihood of exposure to bodily fluids or chemicals being absorbed through the barrier and passing through to the skin.  Therefore, it’s best to choose higher grade examination gloves when the likelihood of skin contact is greater.

May 9, 2010 / Exam Glove


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