Skin protection from bacteria, infection, and injury is important in the workplace, medical settings, and for caregivers. Our hands are one of the most exposed parts of our bodies and subject to any number of dangers. The most obvious way of safeguarding our hands is by wearing protective gloves. Exam gloves come in several types to suit a wide range of needs and provide protection under many conditions.
Medical gloves have long been made from latex rubber, a natural material, that can be turned into a thin protective barrier without sacrificing dexterity and sensitivity to touch. Latex gloves have been the standard in the operating room for doctors and in hospitals since their development by Ansell Limited in 1945. 1
Despite a growing number of latex-related allergies, latex exam gloves are still the first choice by medical professionals. Because they are disposable, inexpensive and versatile, latex gloves remain the most popular glove choice for general protection. Unless the caregiver or patient has a known latex allergy, these gloves provide excellent comfort and resistance to biological material like blood, urine, saliva and fecal waste.
Best Selling Latex Glove:
- High degree of dexterity
- Made from natural materials
- Great general protection
- Potential risk of allergic reaction
Nitrile & Vinyl
Because of the increasing rate of latex allergies in the medical community and population at large, new materials have been developed in the use of glove manufacturing.2 Nitril and vinyl are materials that avoid allergic reactions and also offer unique characteristics themselves.3 Nitrile, for example, is a resilient material that has proven to be more puncture and tear resistant than its’ traditional counterpart. At the same time, nitrile gloves are resistant to many harsh chemicals like gasoline, oil, grease and solvents that would virtually dissolve the same latex glove.4 In addition, nitrile gloves are available in a number of color choices, including pink, purple, blue and black.
Because of their resistance to punctures from potentially contaminated needles, and the general risk of latex allergic reaction, nitrile gloves are often seen on paramedics, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other first-responders. 4
Best Selling Nitrile Glove:
- No risk of allergic reaction
- Great overall gross dexterity
- Made from synthetic material
- Best puncture resistance
Vinyl exam gloves also have their place in the medical and patient care setting. Not intended to provide the same amount of protection and comfort, vinyl exam gloves are easier to don than their stretchy cousins. They are well suited to aid in certain roles such as dispensing medication, patient handling and food service. Vinyl gloves are the least expensive glove option, costing almost half as much as latex or nitrile gloves.
Best Selling Vinyl Glove:
- No risk of allergic reaction
- Least expensive protective glove
- Great for low contamination risk needs
With good choices for skin protection and a variety of materials to choose from, it’s easy to find the type of exam glove to suite almost any need. The right glove can prevent contamination, aid in delicate surgical procedures, and lesson the risk of injury. The most difficult decision today in the selection of the right glove may come down to what color do I choose?
More than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your exam gloves and other health supplies.
1 ^ “100 Years of Australian Innovation – latex gloves”. Retrieved 2010-03-07
2 Feng C, Wang H. Natural rubber latex allergy among health care workers. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Jun 2007;119(6):1561; author reply 1561. [Medline].
3 ^ “NIOSH Alert:Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace”. United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
4 Why Use Nitrile Gloves? The Glove Nation Knowledgebase