As healthcare workers, you're on the front lines supporting those in need, especially during these turbulent times. Because of this, you deserve to be equipped with the best medical supplies out there and a major aspect of that is your latex gloves.
You use them daily to protect you and your patients, which is why you need a pair of gloves that fit perfectly and ensure your own safety and that of those you treat.
But choosing the right latex gloves can be tricky. Here are 6 ways to find the perfect pair.
1. Choose Based on Intended Use
First and foremost, you should choose latex gloves based on what their intended use will be. You can typically divide latex glove uses into two categories: surgery or examination.
On occasion, you may also have the option of choosing latex gloves that provide protection for uses involving chemo-therapies.
Typically, however, examination gloves are meant to prevent exposure to a patient's bodily fluids or blood. In the case of surgeries, you need latex gloves that will provide even greater protection from exposure to blood and bodily fluids.
Surgical gloves may cost slightly more, but they are made differently to provide an added barrier of protection for healthcare workers.
2. Don't Stress Brand
Generally speaking, you shouldn't choose your latex gloves based purely on their brand. While brands vary and some may be known for offering better quality, the brand shouldn't be the only thing you consider when choosing.
The most important aspect of your choice in latex gloves is the task they will be used for and the type of patient being treated.
At the end of the day, it will do you know good to have a fancy brand and expensive glove if the glove itself doesn't meet the needs of the task at hand. Quality and purpose are paramount.
3. Consider Fit
For ultimate protection, (and comfort), your latex glove purchase should also be influenced by fit. Everyone on your healthcare team has different sized and shaped hands. This can make finding the right gloves tricky.
It can be helpful to ask yourself how important tactility and sensitivity is to the task. For cleaning or general hygiene, these factors aren't important. But, for hospital and examination settings, they are pivotal.
Latex and nitrile gloves tend to fight more tightly and provide greater elasticity. On the other hand, vinyl gloves are looser which may be more comfortable but less protective in a surgical setting.
Typically, for maximum protection, you want gloves that fit snuggly so as not to allow any blood or fluids to seep inside.
One good test of fit is to place the glove on your hands and extend your fingers straight. If the material stretches when you do this, the glove is considered to be too small.
4. Consider Durability and Glove Strength
When you're selecting the right pair of gloves for your office or project, you need to be aware of how durable they are. Depending on how you're using them, gloves can be subject to ripping, puncture, or stretching.
You don't want to be in the middle of a procedure or surgery and find that your gloves have a hole in them.
If you use a lot of sharp instruments in your medical work, you also want to think about how well the glove stands up to accidental punctures.
Fortunately, latex gloves are better at resisting punctures and ripping than vinyl. They tend to be more durable and wear longer. However, this obviously cannot be the only consideration when choosing the right pair of gloves as allergies and intended use may alter your choice.
5. Consider Glove Features
Before you can choose the best set of latex gloves, you need to be aware of the different features latex gloves can offer. Some gloves are powdered or non-powdered. Others are sterile or non-sterile.
The powder in powdered gloves is typically cornstarch. This is because cornstarch is non-allergenic. The powdered inside these latex gloves makes them easier to slip on and off.
However, if you are treating a patient with open wounds or abrasions, the cornstarch powder can get inside and cause pain or irritation.
Interestingly, some medical professionals have been known to develop latex allergies after wearing powdered gloves for too long.
Sterile latex gloves are a good alternative option for powdered that are not known to cause allergies later on. They are made with chlorinated latex and thus do not cause allergies down the line.
If you want to get really fancy with your gloves and aren't worried about materials getting into patient wounds, then some latex gloves are made with aloe or oatmeal. These are luxurious for the caregiver and provide added moisture to keep hands feeling smooth.
6. Consider Alternatives for Latex Allergies
The last thing you need when treating a patient is to cause an allergic reaction to exacerbate their existing condition. While less than 1% of people have latex allergies, some patients, and even medical professionals do.
When this is the case, you need a quality substitute glove available.
Alternatives to latex can include vinyl, nitrile, or synthetic gloves. It will help you narrow the choices for latex-alternatives by knowing what task the gloves will be worn for.
Once you have an idea of what types of procedures or medical tasks the gloves will be worn during, you can more easily pick between vinyl, nitrile, or synthetic. Just be sure to check with patients and your medical staff about allergies before treatment.
Choose the Right Latex Gloves Today
Now that you have the gist of how to select the perfect pair of latex gloves, you can start your search. It may also be beneficial to get recommendations from colleagues who've found a type or style they are impressed with.
For help finding the right gloves for you and your team, browse our comprehensive list of glove options today.
We're here to offer help and options for all your medical equipment needs. Stay healthy!