Surgical Gloves: Important Protective Gear

Gloves are important protective gear especially when you are working with hazardous chemicals or any other material that can result in infection and contamination. The COVID19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for use of the gloves to prevent its spread. As per the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the USA (NIOSHA), gloves must be worn during all patient-care activities that involve exposure to blood or body fluids that may be contaminated including mucous membranes and non-intact skin. 

The reasons cited for compulsory wearing of gloves include reducing the risk of contamination and reducing the risk of germ dissemination to the environment and transmission of infection from one person to another. One can choose from a wide variety of disposable surgical gloves made of different materials, available at

Applications of Gloves

Gloves are essentially used in hospitals and nursing homes by doctors and surgeon while carrying out examinations or conducting surgeries and in labs where technicians have to regularly handle a variety of chemicals. The choice of gloves should depend on the activity being performed and the hazards involved. They are incredibly useful in situations when the wearer is cleaning or disinfecting an area. The main criteria for selecting the glove material should be the type of hazards involved. Medical gloves are generally made up of polymers like latex, nitrile, rubber, polyvinyl chloride or PVC and neoprene.  

Major types of gloves are:

  • Nitrile gloves that protect against most chemical and infectious agents and are widely used as lab gloves or medical gloves.
  • Rubber gloves protect against mild corrosive materials.
  • Certain types of gloves made of latex can result in allergic reactions. One can opt for vinyl (synthetic man-made material) gloves in such situations.
  • Neoprene gloves offer protection against most solvents, oils and corrosive materials and thus widely used in labs.
  • Latex Surgical gloves are thicker, more elastic and stronger than the medical gloves.

Dangers of Not Using Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves are quite handy in any kind of health care settings and should be used for cleaning and disinfecting the area around a sick person or touching or coming in contact with the blood, stool or body fluids like saliva, mucus, vomit and urine. An important point to remember is to never use these gloves again even if you have disinfected them. Another important tip is to always wash your hands after you have removed the gloves. Inappropriate usage of gloves which can be defined as the failure to change gloves after touching a contaminated surface can lead to spread of infections. The failure to change gloves is quite common amongst certified nursing assistants and may be a significant cause of the spread of dangerous pathogens in nursing homes, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Experts advise that glove use behavior is as important as hand washing for prevention of the spread of any kind of infection. Also important is focus on choosing the right type of wholesale surgical gloves. Medical gloves are designed for care purposes and not appropriate for housekeeping activities in a nursing home or a home care center.