Examination gloves help prevent cross-contamination between patients and their caregivers, as well as provide protection against dangerous chemicals and bacteria. For maximum protection, it is important to both choose the right gloves and use them properly.
When buying disposable gloves, there are many different options available to suit different needs. The level of protection, comfort, durability and more all vary between the types of gloves, which include latex gloves, nitrile gloves and vinyl gloves. With so many choices, the decision can get overwhelming, so let’s break it down and get an idea of why there are so many different types, to begin with. Once you understand this, the process of choosing gloves will be much easier.
Medical gloves are usually made from polymers such as latex, vinyl and nitrile, although you may find disposable gloves made of other materials, such as neoprene. The following is a quick comparison of nitrile vs. latex vs. vinyl gloves, including the differences in design and their unique benefits.
|GLOVE TYPE||DEFINITION||ADVANTAGE||PROTECTION LEVEL|
|Latex Gloves||Made of natural rubber||Highest comfort, flexibility, fit and tactile sensitivity||Bacteria, viruses|
|Nitrile Gloves||Made of synthetic material||Stretchy, durable||Chemicals, viruses|
|Vinyl Gloves||Made of synthetic material, sometimes referred to as synthetic||Cost-efficient synthetic option, comfortable||Chemicals|
Latex gloves are often preferred by healthcare providers since they provide the best service when it comes to elasticity, comfort and fit. Surgeons in particular benefit from latex gloves since they are great for sensitive work, since they offer more precision with high tactile sensitivity.
Despite its advantages, latex gloves have become an issue for many health professionals due to the increasing rate of latex allergies, and many are choosing to go with non-latex glove options such as vinyl and nitrile gloves instead.
Vinyl gloves, which are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), are usually the cheapest latex-free gloves. However, many prefer to use higher-end gloves such as nitrile gloves. Nitrile gloves are often preferred since these non-latex gloves best resemble the stretchy feel of latex gloves and are also highly durable and puncture resistant.
Another difference to consider when deciding between latex and latex-free gloves is the protection offered by each type of material. In general, latex gloves offer the best protection against bacteria and viruses, while synthetic gloves provide better chemical protection. Of the different types of latex-free gloves, nitrile gloves offer a higher degree of protection against viruses, besides the chemical protection they provide.
POWDERED VS POWDER-FREE GLOVES
Powder-free gloves can be more expensive due to the process that needs to be done to remove the powder coating from the glove. However, gloves that are powder-free reduce the cause of allergies by lowering protein and chemical content. In addition, powder-free gloves are ‘cleaner’ to use than powdered gloves, since they do not leave any residue on clothing or other surfaces.
Powdered gloves are usually lubricated with cornstarch, which makes them much easier to put on. Cornstarch coatings have replaced other powdering options such as lycopodium powder and talc because these other coating types have been found to irritate tissue. Nevertheless, even cornstarch can impede healing when coming into contact with tissues, so powder-free gloves are often preferred for surgeries and other sensitive procedures.