Using Appropriate Exam Gloves For Proper Protection

4/24/2011 - Written by the Medical Exam Glove team

The purpose of wearing exam gloves is to provide you adequate protect against bloodborne pathogens. Considering how necessary disposable medical gloves for providing proper healthcare, it is not uncommon for these protective gloves to be a high expense for medical facilities. For this reason, some healthcare facilities have adopted using just a single type of exam glove or even using a one-size fits all to cut down on costs. Unfortunately, this approach may not be the best solution to providing healthcare workers the best possible protection.

Although every type of medical exam glove whether it is made from latex, vinyl, or nitrile provides adequate protection against bloodborne pathogens, not all gloves provide the same level of protection considering all the different environments healthcare workers use medical gloves. When you compare primary care physician office to intensive care units or emergency rooms environments, you can imagine why there are different degrees of exam gloves. As healthcare workers expose themselves in high-risk environments, there is a need for stronger protection of the hands. For this reason, it is recommended for ICU or ER departments to use a thicker nitrile exam glove that is at least 6 mils thick (e.g. Kimberly Clark’s Purple Glove). This is usually combined with a thinner nitrile glove (e.g. Kimberly Clark’s Lavender Nitrile Glove) that is about 4 mils thick for general use. As an alternative to the thinner nitrile glove option, it is also common to see vinyl exam gloves (e.g. Medline’s Universal 3G Glove) as a more cost-effective option. This combination of having a thick nitrile and thinner exam glove option empowers nurses to decide on the best type of glove to use depending on the situation that may arise.

As for using a single size exam glove for the whole facility, this is to be avoided because if the glove does not fit the hands properly, individuals may be discouraged from using it. If the fit of is too small, wearing exam gloves can be quite uncomfortable. In addition, the material will be easier to tear requiring new pair of gloves to be donned. If the fit is too big, sensitivity of the fingers will be worse and handling objects or instruments may be more difficult. The purpose of medical exam gloves are to protect both healthcare workers and patients from deadly pathogens and we want to provide the best possible protection by encouraging clinicians to always don exam gloves and providing exam gloves that will provide proper protection.


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