Examination Gloves

Everything there is to know about examination gloves

An examination glove is medical equipment that prevents cross-contamination between healthcare professionals and patients. Healthcare professionals and healthcare providers are always at a risk of infection. An infection can be either from a patient or the chemicals used for surgery or examination. There are two main types of medical gloves: for examination and surgical operations. The surgical glove is tighter and more precise. In contrast, the examination glove is not made of the highest quality material and can be of any thickness as required by the healthcare professionals. These are three types of gloves available nowadays:

  1. Latex (LG)
  2. Nitrile (NG)
  3. Vinyl (VG)

All these types have their characteristics and priorities to use in a situation. LG usage is efficient for a sensitive case like for surgical operation. NG is powder-free and has superior chemical resistance to the others, thus minimizing the risk of allergens. When the risk is low, then VG fits best. It saves from contamination and is beneficial and useful to healthcare professionals who perform checkups and operational procedures of patients. It works like self-protection equipment, which protects them from infection. 

History of Examination Gloves

The history begins in 1894 with William Stewart Halstead, who was Johns Hopkins Hospital's first Surgeon in Chief. Halstead first ordered gloves from Goodyear Rubber Co. when his wife and nurse complained of a rash from the chemicals used to handle the surgery. Halstead asked the rubber company to make his wife a rubber pair, and his wife loved them. After that, many more orders were made. In 1894, Halstead implied the use of rubber gloves in the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The medical exam gloves then evolved by using different materials for their preparation. The very first material that got fame was the latex, which was first manufactured in 1964 by Ansell. The demand for latex became abundant in the early 1990s due to the increased awareness of HIV. In the Mid-1990s, many complaints regarding an allergic reaction to latex appeared. The manufacturers started working with the nitrile after making sure that the material can be useful in medical applications. There is not much known about the invention of vinyl type. They are from synthetic materials like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and are thin, lightweight, and disposable, which are cheaper than the other two types.

Indications to use examination gloves

The examination and surgical gloves are disposable, so you can't use them twice. They are different from surgical gloves because they may be sterile or non-sterile, while the surgical ones are strictly sterile. In the healthcare system, the medical staff uses them for several reasons. Doctors and surgeons use them when they examine and perform surgical operations. They prevent contamination and stop the transmission of infection from patients to caregivers. There are several diseases and procedures where the examination glove has its usage.

To prevent infections

Pathogens are present everywhere, but our body is strong enough to fight them. But if the body is under stress or a critical condition, it is hard to compete with the pathogens that result in infections. If a patient comes for diagnosis or examination, the physician must wear them to avoid any infections.

To prevent contamination

A medical practitioner comes across many secretions, blood, and excretions. It puts them at risk of infection as a result of the contamination. In cases where patients come with ENT problems, the physician needs to examine them, and they might come in touch with their mucus membrane. If the physician is not wearing an examination glove, he or she might get the infection as well. It is required to use examination gloves to avoid any contamination.

To prevent chemical contact

Medical industries use many chemicals and drugs. Healthcare providers get training for the usage of many chemicals and drugs for the treatment of their patients. Some of the substances are harmful when they come in direct contact with the body, such as formaldehyde and ammonia.

Protection from radiation

Exposure to the skin has always been a concern in radiology. Durable, heavy, leaded examination gloves were worn in the past. However, many companies make them for clinical usage using Bismuth, Titanium, or Tungsten. Reports state that some vinyl gloves have a 0.5 mm lead shielding power. They intend to avoid the scattered radiation, to which the physician's hands may become exposed. Exposure to these radiations can lead to dermal atrophy and vascular tissue damage.

To reduce sweat 

These are called textile sweat gloves (TSG). The inner side is worn to reduce the amount of sweat, which can accumulate when wearing gloves for a long time. 

Complications of examination gloves

Sweating

Sweating in the palm by wearing them is normal. The eccrine sweat glands and apocrine sweat glands are present on the palm and skin, which produce sweat. Sweat makes it hard to carry out daily procedures, and the feeling of sweaty hands also makes the physician uncomfortable.

Allergies

In the late 1990s, it was evident that LG acted as an allergen for some health care providers for which the manufacturers focused on the production of synthetic material, and they came up with NG.

Infections

Even sweaty palms can be a danger for the examined patient. In case the physician forgets to change it before reviewing the other patient, there is a high chance of the patient getting infected by the exam glove. Replacing them is usually related to hands disinfections. Hands are not appropriately dried sometimes, and the physician puts them back. The long term alcohol contact can lead to harmful results for the skin.

General Specifications

Examination gloves come in various sizes: small, extra small, medium, large, and extra-large. The surgical type is more precise as they need to be of the exact size of the surgeon's hands to ensure safety during the surgery. The general specifications for all three types of gloves are almost the same except for the thickness.

Length: 300mm or higher than 300mm for medium and Large and 290mm for SMALL

Width : 85 +/_ 10 mm for small, 95 +/_ 10 mm for medium, 106 +/_ 10 mm for Large

Thickness: Finger 0.21 mm, Cuff 0.15 mm

Physical Water leak:1.5

Chemical residual: 0

Elasticity: 14.0 MPa

How they work

  • Health professionals should use clean and sterile exam gloves.
  • They should disinfect hands before putting on the examination gloves.
  • For each separate patient, the health professional should change the gloves.
  • If doctors examine separate areas of the same patient, they should change the gloves for each area.
  • They should be put on with minimal touching for the dominant hand, then on the non-dominant hand. After putting on both exam gloves, the fingers should be fixed and adjusted.
  • They should be removed after one-time usage, especially when these get contact with blood or body fluid. Health professionals should remove it if they are damaged or find any indication of their hands' hygiene.

Market leaders

Since the invention of the rubber type, they have been a hit not just in the medical facility but also in other facilities. They ensure the safety of the skin and hands. To ensure that the examination gloves you buy serve their purpose, make sure you are buying a trusted brand. The competitors in the market are:

  • Ansell Healthcare Products LLC
  • Shijiazhuang Hongray Group
  • Supermax Corporation Berhad
  • Haylard Health Inc
  • Cardinal Health Inc
  • Cypress Medical Products LLC
  • Kossan Rubber Industries BHD
  • Medline Industries Inc.
  • Molnlycke Health Care AB
  • Paul Hartmann AG
  • Rubberex Corporation (M) Berhad
  • Semperit AG Holding
  • Hartalega Holdings Bhd
  • Vulkan Medical AS

Conclusion

Examination Gloves have changed the entire medical arena. With their invention, their use is in every field of life as there is an extensive usage in many other fields other than medicine. It is used in households, in the mechanical field area, in the beauty world, and more. It is advised by healthcare professionals to use latex type or any other single-use medical glove to ensure your safety against the deadly virus. The medical exam gloves are single-use, and every medical staff member should wear them during duty hours. They cannot use them more than one time. Once used, they become contaminated with pathogens and should be changed. Hence, it is useful for self-protection against infection.