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What is Natural Rubber Latex?

  • A white milky fluid obtained by tapping the bark of Hevea brasiliensis trees. The latex consists about 30% of rubber hydrocarbon finely dispersed in the aqueous medium. Like all living plants, latex from rubber trees also contains growth related substances such as proteins, carbohydrates and other organic and inorganic substances, albeit in small quantities.
  • The latex has to be concentrated to about 60% dry rubber content and stabilized with chemicals to maintain its fluid state. The latex concentrate is then added with vulcanizing ingredients and other chemicals so that the mixed latex compound can be converted into finished goods by either dipping, extruding, or coating process. In the manufacturing of medical gloves, the dipping process is employed.

What are the benefits of Natural Rubber Latex Gloves ?

  • Natural Rubber Latex glove provides superior barrier protection against the transmission of viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne diseases.
  • Natural Rubber Latex gloves also provide high strength and elasticity, comfort, fit and feel. All these properties of natural rubber thin film make natural rubber latex gloves, the perfect choice in glove selection.

What are the different classifications for surgical, examination and specialty gloves?

  • Surgical gloves are categorized as Class II medical devices according to the European Directive MDD 2007/47/CE. The gloves are designed specifically for surgical procedures. Surgical gloves are primarily used to prevent cross contamination between surgeon to patient and vice versa during invasive medical procedures.
  • Examination gloves are categorized as Class I medical device and are designed for use when conducting non-invasive medical examination, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and for handling contaminated medical materials. Examination gloves are primarily used to prevent cross contamination.
  • Specialty gloves are custom designed for protection against extreme conditions such as high risk situations and dealing with chemotherapy materials. This will be further elaborated in section on PPE.

What are the differences between examination and surgical gloves?

  • Examination gloves are ambidextrous in design while surgical gloves are designed hand specific. Surgical procedures are extremely critical and require precision movements and hand Specific design enables better fit and movement.
  • Examination Gloves are usually non-sterile while surgical gloves must be sterilized. The sterility of surgical gloves is essential to avoid bacteria or virus contamination to the patient wound during surgical procedures.
  • Examination gloves are normally thinner and shorter length compared to surgical gloves due to the nature of procedure which is less critical (non-invasive) as compared to the more critical surgical procedure.

When should medical-grade gloves be worn?

  • Due to the AIDS epidemic, the US recommended a strategy in 1985, known as universal precautions. The purpose of these precautions is to protect healthcare workers from exposure to blood and other body fluids from patients infected with bloodborne pathogens.
  • Hence, medical-grade gloves should be worn whenever there is a probability of hand contact with skin, blood, mucous membranes, body fluids as well as cleaning and disposal of infectious materials and equipment. Healthcare workers are advised to change gloves after contact with each patient and do not reuse gloves.

How often should you change gloves?

  • Between patients
  • Between procedures
  • If gloves become contaminated/prolonged contact with blood/body fluids
  • Going to a clean site after working on a contaminated site
  • If gloves are torn, cut or punctured
  • Sterile gloves are contaminated by touching something non – sterile
  • If gloves have been in contact with oils
  • Gloves should be changed often during lengthy procedures

What are the Dos and Don’ts of glove use?

  • Ensure hands are properly washed before and after donning gloves.
  • Medical gloves are recommended for single use and should be immediately disposed after use.
  • Do not leave gloves on along hallways or outside the examined area, as the gloves might contaminate or contract infectious agents along the way.
  • Proper glove size and fitting is important. Tight fitted gloves will restrain movements resulting to hand fatigue while overlarge size gloves will affect dexterity causing spillage and error in precision.
  • Gloves should not be stored under high temperatures as this will evidently cause product degradation.
  • Always remember to remove gloves when handling office equipment and stationary to avoid contamination.
  • During prolonged procedures, gloves should be changed periodically.
  • Select proper glove characteristics for intended application such as grip, length, thickness, primary material, dexterity, cuff type, physical properties, surface treatment or coating, resistance to biological and mechanical hazards.
  • Avoid direct immersion and prolonged exposure of gloves during handling of biological hazards.
  • Double gloving provides a secondary line of defense against contracting infectious agents.