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What To Know Before You Buy Latex Gloves | Exam Gloves

What To Know Before You Buy Latex Gloves

As a staple in the healthcare industry, latex exam gloves have remained the superior choice since the early 1900’s.  Back then, diseases and infections spread more rapidly due to the lack of hygienic control and requirements.  Even when latex first appeared on the scene, glove material was not regulated – so certain varieties would rip, tear or be exposed to pathogens and germs more easily than others.   It wasn’t until the Food and Drug Administration stepped in and began regulating them did these strong, versatile examination gloves earn their reputation for unbeatable protection in a demanding healthcare setting.

Advances in latex manufacturing technology have reduced the amount of rubber proteins in the actual glove, thereby minimizing the risk of developing an allergic reaction.  However, individuals with highly sensitive skin or a severe latex allergy may still develop problems even with higher quality gloves.  In an examination or surgical area, doctors are required to wash their hands constantly.  This washing and drying process leeches the protective oils off of the skin, and when a new pair of latex exam gloves are donned, can cause dryness, chapping and itching.  These days, many doctors are choosing to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with built in moisturizers to act as an additional protective barrier before they slip on their gloves.

Still, it’s hard to beat latex gloves for their comfort and strength.  These highly durable gloves are extremely resistant to tears, holes and rips, and their added tacky coating makes it easier to grasp and hold delicate instruments.  Doctors consistently remark that these gloves fit like a second skin, making them a favorite when used for surgeries of all kinds.  Of all the types of medical and examination gloves available, latex is the only variety that stands up best to wetness and can easily handle chemical exposure from both acids and alkalis.

In addition to all of these benefits, perhaps the most important reason to choose latex gloves is their superior sensitivity.  When checking for anything abnormal on the body, having a greater sensitivity to touch allows the doctor or surgeon to immediately know if something warrants a closer examination.  In cases like these, latex gloves are a practical choice that works to keep out bodily fluids while making it easy for the physician to examine the patient more fully.

When buying gloves for any purpose, ensure you buy the type properly suited for the task, as there are both medical grade and general purpose gloves.  Powdered and non powdered varieties are available (the powder is most often simply corn starch) and enables the gloves to have a stronger, non slip grip, however the powdered variety enables more of the rubber protein to come in contact with the skin, increasing the chance for an allergic reaction.  Depending on the work involved, powdered gloves may also cause concern for greater infection risk, therefore only non powdered latex exam gloves should be used where open incisions and open surgical procedures are concerned.

Jun 24, 2010 / Exam Glove

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