Due to COVID-19 latex gloves have been hard to find being sold out frequently on all sites.
This article will help you understand what to look for and watch out for when buying latex gloves along with where you can buy them.
What Is Latex?
It’s a ‘cocktail’ of compounds and proteins that you’ll naturally find in some trees and plants. Latex is initially a liquid before it’s converted to a rubbery material that comes in handy in a broad range of industries. However, natural rubber latex differs from the synthetic rubber that’s made from chemicals and used to make latex paint, among other products.
What Are Latex Gloves Used For?
For centuries, latex has been the go-to in the production of medical gloves. Today, we’ll delve into some of the uses of latex gloves in medical facilities.
- To curb cross-contamination: Germs and other disease-causing pathogens travel both ways in medical facilities. Therefore, healthcare givers can infect patients and vice versa. Disposable latex rubber gloves are quite literally a lifesaver in preventing the exchange of bodily fluids like mucus and blood between medical personnel and patients.
- Hand protection: Healthcare givers use all kinds of chemicals and drugs to treat patients, exposure to which can have adverse health repercussions. Latex disposable gloves are drug and chemical resistant. Furthermore, they offer protection from physical hazards like bruises, cuts, and piercings when handling surgical knives and needles.
- Enhanced touch sensitivity and grip: Medical gloves fall into two main categories. Latex exam gloves that medical personnel like nurses and physicians use for routine health checkups and examinations. Secondly, surgical gloves that theater staff like surgeons use during medical procedures. Designed with sufficient finger thickness and texture, latex surgical gloves provide optimum tactile sensitivity, dexterity, and grip.
Powdered vs. Powder-free Latex Gloves
You can take your pick from two types of latex gloves mentioned below.
- Powdered latex gloves: They’re layered with powder on the inside to prevent the latex from sticking to your hands. In turn, taking them on and off is a breeze, particularly for healthcare providers that are constantly having to take off their gloves and wear a new pair.
These latex examination gloves contain cornstarch powder that curbs an allergic reaction and keeps your hands comfortable and dry. Powdered gloves are also more resistant to wear-and-tear compared to powder-free options.
- Powder-free latex gloves: Since the FDA ban on powdered gloves, the powder-free counterparts are more prevalent in the medical sector and food service facilities. One of the perks of powder-free options is the absence of a messy residue on your hands, which is important in food service settings. Furthermore, new types of powder-free latex exam gloves are equally as easy to slip on and off as their powdered counterparts.
Alternatives to Latex Gloves
Below are disposable glove alternatives to latex rubber.
- Nitrile gloves: Despite their thinness, synthetic latex gloves or nitrile rubber gloves have superior resistance to chemicals, cuts, snags, and punctures compared to other options. As a result, latex nitrile gloves are popular in medical facilities, more so during a worldwide pandemic.
- Vinyl: If you’re prone to a latex allergy, disposable vinyl gloves might be an option to consider. These latex-free gloves are cheaper than the gloves nitrile gloves counterparts and usually used in foodservice settings. Furthermore, they’re examination gloves that offer protection in a broad range of medical applications. Just like disposable nitrile gloves, vinyl gloves can be donned easily with or without powder.
The Recommended Use of Latex Gloves
When wearing gloves, the CDC recommends the following precautions.
1. Wear gloves to avoid direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids or potentially contaminated skin and equipment.
2. You should not use gloves as a substitute for hand hygiene. Depending on the task, you may need to perform hand hygiene before donning a pair of gloves.
3. Perform hand hygiene after removing the gloves by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use a moisturizer thereafter, preferably one with Aloe Vera in its ingredients to avoid getting dry and cracked hands.
4. Change to a new pair of gloves and perform hand hygiene if the gloves succumb to wear-and-tear or are visibly soiled after with bodily fluids after a task.
5. Medical staff should avoid wearing the same pair of gloves in the care of multiple patients.
6. When you’re done with the given task in a contaminated area, carefully remove and safely discard the gloves to curb hand contamination.
The above tips are especially important in preventing the spread of the coronavirus that can survive on surfaces for 24+ hours.
Buyer’s Guide: Where to Buy Latex Gloves
Whether you’re looking to buy powdered or powder-free latex gloves, they’re available at your local grocery or drug store. For convenience, you can also order them online. Here’s what you need to look for when buying latex gloves. They should:
- Fit snuggly, be flexible, minimize hand fatigue, and boost performance.
- Guarantee barrier protection.
- Have high tensile strength for puncture resistance
- Have textured surface for better grip
- Have a thickness that’s consistent with the tasks they’re designed for, such as medical examinations, general-purpose, or high-risk work. This eliminates the need for double gloving.
- Be manufactured by a reputable brand
Some of the top brands for latex gloves include Ammex, Procure, and Halyard.
What to Do When You Don’t Have Latex Gloves
Some alternatives to consider when latex gloves aren’t readily available include using:
- Polyvinyl Alcohol gloves: They help preserve your skin by preventing chemical burns, cuts, abrasions, and are ideal for household cleaning or handling any contaminated objects.
- Polyvinyl chloride gloves: They have high puncture resistance and are reusable.
- Neoprene gloves: These gloves offer resistance against chemicals, abrasions, disease-causing microbes, are multipurpose, and suitable for home use.