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Latex Gloves

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Over the last few years, latex gloves have become the industry standard in the medical and hospitality industries, and are used widely for many different applications. The natural strength and proven barrier protection capability of latex gloves make them a great choice for applications involving possible contact with bodily fluids, microorganisms, and bloodborne pathogens. They are inexpensive, and available from many sources, making them a natural choice for industry and commercial applications.

However, there are a few drawbacks to using latex gloves. Type IV and type I allergic reactions are increasingly common with frequent users of latex gloves. Type IV reactions are non-life threatening surface level reactions, and can usually be traced to the chemicals used when manufacturing the gloves. Type I reactions are reactions to the proteins in natural latex, and can develop over periods of frequent contact with latex products (especially if type IV reactions have occurred).

Safe Usage of Latex Gloves

There are measures that you can take to prevent the development of allergic reactions to latex. Many latex gloves are lightly powdered (on the inside) to ease donning. The powder has proved to be a transmission agent for the proteins responsible for latex allergies. By using powder free gloves, or gloves that have are low in extractable protein, you can substantially lower the risk of a reaction. Also, by avoiding too much contact during periods of dermatitis, you can reduce the risk of allergy development as well.

Despite the risks, latex proves to be a strong protective product, drastically reducing the risk of illness or injury among medical professionals. Latex gloves are comfortable, and their pliability (much greater than synthetic gloves) can provide surgeons with the dexterity that they need for any operation.


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