Types of Medical Gloves

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Selecting Gloves that Fit Your Needs

Thanks to the advanced technology in today’s healthcare industry, choosing the right medical examination gloves can be a difficult task. Gloves are available in different material ranging from vinyl, latex and nitril. To make the selection process even more difficult, gloves are also categorized as sterile, non-sterile, powdered and non-powdered.

Healthcare professionals ranging from nurses, caregivers, surgeons, dentists and lab technicians are required to wear either Exam Gloves or Surgical Gloves according to their job description.

Examination gloves are usually used by nurses, physicians and general healthcare personnel to protect themselves against contamination during a routine patient care procedure or an examination. For better precision and sensitivity, surgeons and operating room staff need to wear surgical gloves.

Difference between powdered and non powdered gloves

Powder is used to lubricate gloves so they can be easier to put on your hands; cornstarch is used due to its non irritating ingredients. Powder can impede the healing process if it gets into tissue which is the reason why healthcare professionals prefer to use non powdered gloves.

However, due to the latest technology in gloves, powder related complications have been nearly eliminated because surgical and examination gloves now have a special inner coating inside them.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile exam gloves offer extra strength with a soft touch and are recommended for use in areas such as ER and trauma units. These gloves are also excellent when dealing with harsh chemicals or liquid immersion (e.g. lab, oncology, environmental services, endoscopy and pharmacy).

They possess superior chemical resistance and are stronger than vinyl and latex gloves. Some of advantages of nitrile gloves are below:

  • Puncture resistant
  • Protein and latex free
  • Greater protection
  • Chemical resistant

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are durable and carry greater comfort as well as sensitivity. In recent times, there has been a big push by the healthcare industry to become latex free due to the risk of personnel developing latex allergies. Healthcare workers who frequently use latex gloves can develop minor skin problems such as irritation or redness.

Some information about latex gloves is mentioned below:

  • Preferred by surgeons
  • Extremely durable
  • Excellent fit
  • Comfortable
  • Sensitive to the touch
  • Mid range protection

Vinyl Gloves

A vinyl glove is a cost effective and latex free solution which is well suited for majority of clinical work. Vinyl glove technology has improved in areas such as strength, elongation, tactile sensitivity, and comfort.

Below are characteristics of vinyl gloves:

  • Cost effective
  • Latex free
  • Comfortable
  • Soft
  • Less durable
  • Less tactile for sensitive work
  • Made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Standard protection
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