Have you considered why gloves are important to wear in a care home setting? How do you select the type of gloves that are right for you and your residents? Here are some of the different aspects to consider:
The primary use of gloves is to protect hands from substances such as blood and saliva. Both can contain all sorts of viruses and bacteria, some of which can be very dangerous.[i]
Gloves have been proven to reduce bacteria present on hands by more than 80%.[ii] Washing your hands regularly is still important to prevent remaining bacteria from spreading.
Which materials are available and why do they matter?
There are plenty of different materials available for single-use gloves, including latex, non-latex, plastic, vinyl and nitrile options. These materials may look or feel similar, but they can affect the skin in different ways.
Latex gloves are a popular choice, but it’s estimated that as many as 1-6% of the general population have a latex sensitivity. As this allergy is caused by proteins within natural rubber latex, people can develop sensitivity to the material over time. This means that practitioners who regularly wear latex gloves have an increased chance of reacting badly. This is why latex allergies affect 8-12% of healthcare workers.[iii]
The effects caused by latex sensitivity vary, but some of the associated symptoms include skin redness, hives and itching. Latex sensitivity can also cause respiratory problems such as a runny nose, itchy eyes and asthma. Those who are severely affected can even go into shock – which is especially bad news when you’re looking after vulnerable people.
As such, it’s a good idea to ascertain whether either staff or residents have any material allergies and avoid these substances entirely.
Gloves affect your residents too!
Personal preference is likely to influence your decision between powdered or non-powdered gloves. However, powdered gloves can cause some negative side effects like setting off conditions such as asthma, so may be unsuitable for use around asthmatic residents or those with other respiratory conditions.[iv]
Initial Medical offer a wide range of gloves to suit all situations. They include latex, non-latex, nitrile and vinyl options, available in a huge array of colours and sizes, as well as powdered or powder-free solutions and even those fragranced with peppermint!
See our range of available gloves to find out more HERE: https://www.initial.co.uk/infection-control/medical-supplies/
[i] Very Well Health. Infectious Diseases That Spread Through Saliva. Link: https://www.verywellhealth.com/kiss-of-deathor-diseases-1958924 [Last accessed May 19].
[ii] Dentistry Today. Gloves in the Dental Office. Link: https://www.dentistrytoday.com/infection-control/1319–sp-602552556 [Last accessed May 19].
[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Latex Allergy. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/gloves.html [Last accessed May 19].
[iv] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. FDA Proposes Ban on Most Powdered Medical Gloves. Link: https://community.aafa.org/blog/fda-proposes-ban-on-most-powdered-medical-gloves [Last accessed May 19].