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Disposable Gloves: Do You Still Need Them?

Disposable gloves are used in many establishments and industries, mainly in the medical, dental, and food handling industries. They are included in the personal protective equipment required to prevent contamination or the spread of diseases. However, wearing disposable gloves is necessary for these industries where workers are exposed to bodily fluids and pathogens.

But for normal citizens doing their work or tasks, should you wear disposable gloves?

Types of Disposable Gloves

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There are different types of gloves. Each pair of disposable gloves are used for different applications and offer varying benefits. Here are the three most commonly used types of disposable gloves.

1. Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are the most commonly used type of gloves all over the world. These disposable gloves are commonly used in the medicine, dental, veterinary, catering, food outlets, beauty, auto technicians, and forensic industries. They’re affordable, comfortable, durable, flexible, and made from naturally occurring rubber materials derived from rubber trees.
However, latex gloves are not ideal for those with sensitive skin or latex allergies. Choose latex-free disposable gloves, like nitrile or vinyl gloves, in this case.

2. Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic material. These disposable gloves are 100% latex-free and more durable than latex gloves and vinyl gloves. Nitrile gloves are comfortable fit, lightweight, breathable, and easy to wear and remove without adding any powder.

They offer superior protection against numerous chemicals and substances making them perfect for laboratories. Nitrile gloves are puncture resistant which is necessary for tasks and industries where workers used or are exposed to sharp objects like tattooing, dentists, auto mechanics, and surgeries.

However, nitrile gloves are more on the expensive side than disposable gloves. If you are working on a budget and your tasks don’t require nitrile gloves, it is best to skip these disposable gloves and use latex or vinyl gloves.

3. Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl gloves are also made from synthetic material but are not as tough and durable as nitrile gloves. But these disposable gloves are a great alternative to latex gloves if you don’t handle dangerous substances or contaminated bodily fluids.

These disposable gloves are very cost-effective, latex-free, and resistant to oils, water, and fats. Vinyl gloves are anti-static making them ideal for low-risk electrical tasks. However, they are less durable and flexible compared to latex and nitrile gloves. They are not breathable and offer limited protection against contaminated bodily fluids and hazardous materials.

Vinyl gloves are loose and can be uncomfortable when used. If stretched, the protection they provide is compromised. Replace your gloves at once if this happens.

Best Practices for Wearing Disposable Gloves

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Wearing gloves is very helpful, especially when your tasks involve being exposed to or handling dangerous substances, chemicals, or bodily fluids. However, just wearing disposable gloves without following the best practices is not enough. Here are the 4 best practices for wearing disposable gloves.

Wash your hands before and after wearing gloves. Proper hygiene is crucial to the safety of yourself and those around you. Wash your hands using soap and clean running water. Scrub for 20 seconds before rinsing. Dry your hands using a clean towel or by air drying.

Check disposable gloves for holes, tears, cracks, punctures, or discolorations. If you have these problems with your disposable gloves, don’t wear them and look for other gloves. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Wear the right size of gloves. The size of your disposable gloves is essential for your comfort and dexterity. If the gloves are too loose, they will slip or get caught with machines. And when gloves are too tight, gloves will hinder your hand movement and cause fatigue.

Don’t reuse disposable gloves. Disposable gloves are called disposable for a reason. They are designed, made, and intended for one-time use only. Throw them properly after removing them to prevent the spread of diseases and viruses.

When to Use Disposable Gloves?

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Disposable gloves are required in medical, homecare, and dental settings. The caregiver, doctor, nurses, dentists, and other practitioners in these settings are required to wear disposable gloves when they handle or come in contact with bodily fluids like mucous membranes, blood, saliva, etc.

Wearing gloves is also required in the food handling, beauty, and tattooing industries, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing durable and quality disposable gloves, like nitrile gloves, are a must when handling hazardous chemicals and substances in laboratories and manufacturing establishments.

But if you are doing your groceries or pumping gas to your car, wearing disposable gloves is not necessary. Actually, wearing gloves in these cases poses more risk of contamination than not wearing them. When you are not aware of how to properly remove contaminated gloves, you can spread the contamination to yourself and those around you. It is safer to wipe the pump or push cart with disinfectant wipes than to wear gloves. Then, after finishing your tasks, wash your hands with soap and clean water or sanitize using a sanitizer or alcohol.

There are certain tasks where disposable gloves are required. However, there’s no need to wear them all the time or do simple tasks. The best way to keep yourself safe is to wash your hands properly using soap and clean water.

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