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Medical Gloves: What Are the Differences between the Major Types?

Healthcare workers have access to a diverse range of gloves for medical use, created through special manufacturing processes. Learning what makes each type special will show you how to choose in order to have the benefits you require (chemical protection, superior grip etc.).

Latex textured gloves

Latex gloves with texture differ from the regular type through their finish. Their surface is rough – it has a texture to ensure a better grip. This might be present only on the fingertips area. The purpose is to avoid dropping instruments or making wrong moves, thus reducing a series of risks during medical acts like surgery. This kind of gloves also stays put and does not slide down the hand so easily, thanks to the texture.

Synthetic gloves

These are equally suitable to surgery, examinations etc., just like natural latex gloves are, only that they’re based on new polymers and made for those with a latex allergy. To learn more about their properties, you may check the Ansell healthcare glove, made to ensure protection against dangerous substances and to create a latex-safe environment by avoiding the risks of employing powder in medical gloves. You will usually find nitril and vinyl gloves as the most popular types in the synthetic category. See these below.

Nitril and vinyl gloves

You will often encounter latex-free gloves as nitril or vinyl ones. They’re made to prevent allergies caused by latex exposure. You may also find these as powder-free. In addition to containing no latex, such gloves offer adequate protection during chemical use. Experts recommend buying these in white, because it show any trace of contamination. Vinyl ones also exist as powdered and powder-free.

Chemical shielding gloves

While they look just like most other types, these medical gloves offer superior chemical resistance to hazardous compounds, including cytostatics and many kinds of lab chemicals. Thus, they also manage to prevent many allergies. The inner surface that comes in contact with the skin is latex-free and totally harmless; it’s the exterior that’s treated for protection. These gloves keep all other properties intact: flexibility, adherence/grip and elongation. The best variety is definitely the one that covers as much of the wrists as possible.

Thermo-elastic gloves

This is a range that shows greater flexibility in the presence of heat – more precisely, body heat. This means that the material will adapt to the wearer’s hand with greater precision once they’re put on. Their adapting shape makes them have a more secure fit. They’re also highly comfortable to wear. Plus, the interior is coated so that donning comes easily, even when you would not expect it to go smoothly.

Powdered vs. non-powdered

Powder here is actually cornstarch, a non-irritating ingredient that helps one put on the gloves easily. However, it’s not too helpful to the patient: if cornstarch gets inside the tissue, it may hinder the healing. Thus, medical professionals prefer to avoid powder. If you struggle wearing your gloves, you may want to consider a variety with a special inner coating.

It is a mistake to think that differently coloured gloves represent distinct types of uses. Colour alone isn’t enough to indicate the type of medical glove. It’s the manufacturer’s label that gives you the information you need. Make sure to always check the description well, to see to which jobs they’re suitable.

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