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The medical industry thrives on gloves. Can you imagine doctors treating patients or conducting operations without wearing gloves? Gloves protect the wearer and the other person from contagious diseases. 

Unfortunately, various medical gloves like nitrile gloves are available, making it confusing to pick the right one. If you want to learn about different types of gloves and how you can pick the right one, read on.

What Are Gloves?

Gloves are personal protection equipment that serve as the wearer’s first line of defence against injury and infection. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for personal protection equipment has increased among medical professionals and the general public. The disposable gloves also set a precedent for hygiene and care across the medical industry. 

Gloves are used not only in the medical industry but also in other industries like manufacturing and construction. As a professional, it is important to choose the safest and best pair of gloves that suit your industry to protect yourself. You also need to understand that there are a variety of gloves available, and not all will provide the same amount of protection. The best gloves will be based on various factors, such as thickness, elasticity, thickness, puncture resistance, chemical resistance required and tensile strength. 

Three materials are commonly used to make disposable gloves: vinyl, nitrile and latex.

  • Latex gloves

Latex has been ruling the medical disposable glove industry for a long time. It is one of the best gloves and is recommended by most experts worldwide. It was one of the most recommended gloves against bloodborne pathogens during the 1980s and 1990s. 

Latex gloves are comfortable for those who don’t have allergies. These are cost-effective and offer a high degree of touch sensitivity. Therefore, latex gloves proved to be the best and could be used for most of the work related to the medical industry, except for the ones with allergies.

  • Vinyl gloves

Vinyl gloves are composed of PVC, which is a petroleum-based film. The best part about these gloves is that they are quite inexpensive to manufacture. However, they are less durable than nitrile and latex and offer limited protection against biomedical or chemical exposure. This is why vinyl gloves are used only in low-infection and non-hazardous environments. When these gloves are flexed or stretched, each molecule gets separated, and the integrity of the gloves is compromised. 

  • Nitrile gloves             

What are nitrile gloves? Nitrile gloves were discovered in 1990 as a great alternative to latex gloves. They are not as flexible as latex but are more durable and provide greater resistance against chemicals. These gloves are best for people employed in industries where they have to deal with corrosive and hazardous chemicals. Nitrile gloves are also ideal in the medical environment as they are exceptionally puncture-resistant and reduce the risk of allergic reactions.                             

Why Are Gloves Important?

Gloves are an important piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the medical industry for several reasons:

  1. Protection against infection

Medical personnel wear gloves to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases. Gloves act as a barrier between the hands of the healthcare worker and the patient, preventing the transmission of harmful microorganisms.

  1. Prevention of contamination

Gloves also help to prevent contamination of the medical equipment and surfaces in the healthcare setting. This is important for maintaining a clean and safe environment for both healthcare workers and patients.

  1. Sensitivity

Medical gloves are made of materials that allow for sensitivity and dexterity, allowing healthcare professionals to perform delicate procedures such as surgeries or injections without causing harm to the patient.

  1. Safety

Gloves also protect healthcare professionals from potential hazards, such as sharps, chemicals or other dangerous materials that they may come into contact with in their work.

  1. Compliance with regulations

Many healthcare institutions and organisations have policies and regulations in place that require medical personnel to wear gloves as a standard practice. This is to ensure that the healthcare worker is protected and that the hospital or facility is in compliance with regulations and laws.

However, take note that wearing gloves is not a substitute for good hand hygiene. You still need to wash your hands frequently and properly before and after wearing gloves. Also, gloves should be used in combination with other PPE, such as masks and gowns, as well as following the recommended protocols and guidelines for the specific procedure or situation.

Factors To Consider When Choosing The Most Suitable Pair of Gloves

Now that you know what are nitrile gloves, as well as the other types of gloves, let’s learn about the factors you should consider when picking the right gloves

  • Glove Thickness

Glove thickness, measured in mils, is the first and most important factor that should be considered. The glove thickness ranges from 2 to 15 mils. The thicker the gloves are, the better protection they will provide. However, it will lower the touch sensitivity and make it challenging to work. Reusable gloves are thicker and thus offer better protection. 

  • Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is the amount of force required to break the glove. It is measured in megapascals. The lower the tensile strength is, the higher the possibility of tearing will be. Most medical gloves have a minimum of 11 mPa of tensile strength. 

  • Elongation

Elongation is the glove’s ability to stretch without tearing. Medical gloves need to have an elongation of 300% at least.

  • Chemical Resistance

Chemical resistance is another important factor that should be considered when choosing gloves, as one of their primary purposes is to protect against chemicals. The chemical resistance provided by them depends on the type of chemical it is exposed to. 

  • Length

The length of the gloves is measured from the wrist opening to the fingertips. Long gloves are mostly recommended for people working in the chemical industry, where they have to submerge their hands in the chemical solution.

  • Powder vs Powder-Free Gloves

There are two types of gloves available on the market: powdered and powder-free. Powder gloves are more popular as they are easy to wear and provide better resistance than powder-free gloves. However, these gloves are messy and increase the chances of spreading the pathogens. 

On the other hand, powder-free gloves use polymer coating or chlorination. The ones with chlorination are washed in hypochlorite and hydrochloric acid solutions or chlorine gas and then rinsed. Chlorinated gloves are easier to wear than polymer ones.

  • Shelf Life

Each glove offered has its own shelf life. However, it also depends on where and how it is stored. If you want to get the most out of the gloves, store them in a cool, dark area. If the gloves are stored improperly, their performance reduces. 

Dexcon | Leading Medical Device and PPE Supplier in Australia

You need the right gloves depending on the environment you are exposed to. If you are looking for the best and most highly effective medical gloves, you can reach out to us at Dexcon.  

Dexcon is one of the fastest growing PPE and medical device import and export solutions companies in Australia. We provide PPE and medical products to governments, corporations, wholesalers and even individuals. Our premium medical devices are ethically priced and provide protection for people working in the medical and chemical industries. Get in touch with us here to explore our range of products. 

For more details about our products, contact us here.